Ethan J. Murray
the borderline subject
the borderline subject expects too much from life.
the borderline subject cannot comprehend what life really is.
the borderline subject thinks only in extremes: she hates me, she loves me. one day soon she will
kiss me hard and
tape fresh wings
to my back and
then we’ll begin
our life together—
the borderline subject mistakes obsession for love.
the borderline subject lovesdetails. loves them. practically collects them!
the borderline subject defines favorite person (fp) as: original. deserving. larger than life.
the borderline subject will go on for fifteen minutes about what their fp said, and how they said it
and what it meant.
the borderline subject has a relentless propensity for hope.
the borderline subject will fall into despair without warning or reason.
the borderline subject will cut off contact with the person they value most and reel so violently
that the list of ways
they might kill
like ink consuming
we cannot let the borderline subject out of our sight.
to understand the borderline subject, we must go back to their childhood.
symptoms may emerge at an earlier age than previously thought
i fell into the tall grasses of devotion
and loved them for what they were:
the thick cover, the wild scent—
miles of unfenced lullaby.
i gave it my shrines: bouquets of milkweed
drooping from empty snail shells.
fox tracks arrayed like a line of cards,
coins hidden beneath one print.
in an excavated burrow, a careful
rainbow of classroom chalk.
i wandered home dusty, lightheaded
from giving more than i had.
underneath my bedroom window, i rinsed
the traces with the garden hose
and crept into bed, hair shining like a butterfly,
tiger-striped under the nightlight.
Ethan J. Murray is a queer, autistic poet loved into existence by 12 headmates. Their work is forthcoming or published in Occulum Journal, Sidereal Magazine, Homology Lit, and elsewhere. They also post free interactive fiction about trans kids learning magic at softpoet.itch.io. You can find them on Twitter, Patreon, and Ko-fi @ethanandco