Poetry by Janaya Martin

You Would Have Been 34

You sit inside me still after all these years,
a dusty book upon my shelf.

When you died your energy dispersed and landed here.
You spend most days at the tips of my fingers
trying to get me to tell a story,
but I don’t know whose.

I often wonder how I survived your absence
without a drink;
how I still muster the strength
to face myself sober
day after day.

I don't know.

I miss you friend.




When you broke the kitchen cupboards, I waited
until morning to pick up the pieces.
I don’t remember falling asleep or what
you said as the police escorted you out
maybe because you looked so much
like someone I never meant to love.

There was blood dried in the hinges.
I swept ash from the floor, smearing black across the
linoleum amazed at how much it looked like my face.
I was hunched over and hungover
writing an apology letter, still thinking that it was my
fault you were spending the weekend in jail.

I was a ghost in my own home.
Tiptoeing in front of our bedroom door
so sure your demons were still sleeping there
flinching when our daughter let the
screen door slam.

When I got sober you got worse
and then your mom died
and too often I wondered if
it would hurt me
if you went too.


Janaya Martin describes herself as a work in progress. She has recently been published in Oddball Magazine and is currently working on self-publishing a full-length book of poems entitled, Tiptoe and Whisper, whose themes include: love, loss, addiction and survival.

Kristi DiLalloComment