I woke up 35
perfectly capable
of taking care of me
and glad there was
no one else I was
responsible for
but I’d trade it
all away to have
had this thought
in the middle
of the night
and be able to
turn to you
and say it.

You turn 35 and are suddenly confronted with an inordinate amount of people you would have thought were older. With more marriage licenses. More birth certificates. More college degrees, mortgages; larger lives.

I woke up unhappy. Unprepared. Not for lack of foreknowledge or trying,
just… I wasn’t ready.

Yes, I live small. I do that on purpose. But my life is also empty of the worst things that so many others lives seem to be full to the brim with.

And so by the time I went to sleep on the day I turned 35, I felt better about my little life.

But I woke up at midnight knowing I’d trade it all away to be able to turn to someone and tell them about the silly dream I just had where I didn’t have anything or anyone to come home to. So I guess I know my limits.



“You are
not always
a mystery,”
he says,

And I laugh
even harder
than before.

Does that
please me?
Or am I

I don’t
really know.
I don’t
really care.

I am confident
in the spot on
his left shoulder

where I can
safely rest
my head for
a little while.

“I wish you
were not always
a mystery,”
I think,
but do not say.

I close my eyes
and decide
that I like it.



I could only manage
to open my eyes
for a moment –

but there you were.


There was
a question
I think,
or maybe
an answer?

In the way
you were
looking right
through me.


Dear Powers That Be,

I never intended to be 35 years old and single, but here I am, killing it.

How did that happen? I haven’t loved many people in my life, but enough to have assumed one of them would stick. Oh well.

My metabolism quit. Or at least quit being able to surmount the walls all this medication erects in its path, and I’m not too in love with my reflection in the mirror these days. But it’s looked worse, and in the grand scheme I can live with it.

I have done a meticulous job over the course of the past few years to do everything I can to live a life as free from drama as possible. Yes, it manifests in staying home most every night, asleep by 9, and while I know that’s a result of mental illness and escalating issues, I can’t be mad about it.

Unfortunately, drama has a way of finding me. Not just finding, burying me, under its weight. I am tired, I am angry, I am helpless, and I am sad. As if I don’t deserve any better than to rolled into the current of other people’s bullshit.

How pathetic to be whining my way into my birthday. I’m more disappointed in myself than I’ve been in a long time. That’s been hard to cope with. But I’ll find my way through it. I always do.

Unlike last year, I have zero interest in asking for your help. You do what you do and nothing I say can change it. I can’t help thinking you’re laughing at me. And while anger is more useful than sadness, nothing makes you feel alive like fear.


Betsy Rose


Dry Up

It’s been years
since a woman
has told me
she loves me

but in my dreams
it’s still
the right fork
in the road.

Ever since
I can remember
the person sitting
in the other rocking chair

as we sway our way
through the afternoon

has been a woman
with matching lines.

I want to dry up
with her hand in mine.

For that matter
it’s been awhile
since a man
has told me
he loves me

and you’d have to
go back pretty far
I fear

to find a
birthday turn
that doesn’t
have me in tears.

They’re not sad.
I’m not angry.

I’m just trying to
dry up
more quickly.

I say I won’t settle
but it’s all that I do.
I’ll run myself through
a long line of wasted time.

The things you say
will annoy me and

the way you move
will confuse me and

the promises you
won’t even keep
will just
turn me into
a puddle again.

But in my dreams
I find myself sitting
in a worn rocking chair
of two.

I sway my way
through the afternoon.

Reach across and
draw a line

from hers to mine.