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I Will Let Myself Be Loved


In photos with my sister, I am always bigger:

heavier, thicker boned, thoughtless in the way

I claim space. She is skinny, but fills the air

beyond the boundaries of her delicate frame.

My sister is water to my fire.

She’s the yin to my shambolic yang,

when inordinate rage & breath-catching irritation

build within me,

when my fury comes like one hundred horns

& one hundred bells,

my nerves a chorus

of plucked strings,

a quiver of quivering. When the blood

in my fingertips pulse,

& my jaws cramp from clenching

tight to keep my screams

quiet from the night,

she is safety, warmth,

& temperance in a dangerous world,

a world in which I can never trust

myself, because even a day that seems mundane

holds in its purposeful

or dreamy breaths

the possibility of precipitous rage, the heaves

from my body terribly loud: frightening.

My sister hugs me & I let her, & I hold on,

her heartbeat against my chest. Its beautiful,

crazy boom boom. A drum beating.

A cup of sparking fireflies.

As I cry, her fingers nestle

in the ridges of my spine.

Not all arms are an oasis,

but some arms

can span the vast contradictions

of who I am,

& they hold me safe.


At the farmers’ market on Calle Ocho,

our stomachs gurgle like lava lamps,

so we buy cherries & spit the pits at each other.

The shells, glistening with saliva & clinging fruits,

freckle the Miami asphalt.

We lick juice from the webs between our fingers,

take in the sweet scent.

How miraculous this world.

We see it all the way we want to be seen.


I was of the water,

you were of the air,

and we both hungered

for a place we didn’t remember.

There was a craving

in your joints, José Armando,

as I opened up in waves

and left you dizzy

and surrounded

by the deafening roar

of the blood in your veins.

—as I walked away.

I’ve returned

to your shores,

years later,

this time for good.

And I’ve found you:



even though

you remember

the fury

of my summer storms.

I play the banjo

on your naked thighs,

your magnificent calves,

your dimpled knees,

every particle

alive in the filtered



the mango trees—

branch tips

thick with fruit.

The sun pulls

the sky

into its heat,

scorches it

bare of clouds.

I am




(Cover art for this poem by Frank Morrison)

Confront Depression, Anxiety, Grief, and Loss through Poetry

Are the usual depression books helping you find a path to healing? No? Try this poetry collection especially for those dealing with mental illness and for people closest to them.

Create hope for the future. Paloma is faking it. On the outside, she’s A-Okay. She’s electrified at work, there is a cadence in her step as she walks her dog, she posts memes on Facebook, and she keeps up with most relationships. Looks can be deceiving, however. Inside, Paloma is just going through the motions, and she feels like things are spiraling out of control. But when things are at their darkest, dawn arrives with clarity and focus, and with it, healing. Paloma learns to value small glimmering moments of joy rather than searching for constant happiness, thus building hope for her future.

A manifesto for life. Happy, Okay?: Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival is not simply a narrative spun in verse by a masterful poet. It is an invitation to readers to shake off the stigma and silence of mental illness and find strength in the only voice that matters: your own. It can be an electric roadmap to healing and a manifesto for wholeness.

In this inspiring and heartwarming book, you will:

  • Understand how to make happiness a decision, even when you don’t feel it in your bones

  • Find out how to exercise patience and self-acceptance

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Fans of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace, Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim, Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn, or Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley will love Happy, Okay? by M.J. Fievre.


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