"All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters."
--Paper Towns, John Green
The dead hearts are hidden under the floorboards,
no one can see there's something wrong.
He hands them to her silently
and she slips them into her faded apron pocket.
Tight lips the only communication they'll ever use.
The white washed boards hide the stains;
she's scrubbed till her knuckles are blue
to remove all evidence
that there was ever anything wrong.
Don't let them see, her mother told her, tying bows in her hair.
Don't show them your underbelly, they'll stab you every time.
Everything is fake and shiny
new like a baby's face when it sleeps.
His lips are pulled tight against the smile
pressed into his white teeth.
Her hair has faded, it was once gold.
Now it hangs lifeless, the breeze through the kitchen window
lifting it off her shoulders.
The perfect curls waving like a flag of retreat.
The whistle is off-key when he crosses the street,
but the neighbors don't notice he's been sleeping on the porch instead
of his warm bed.
Her hums have stopped when she stands outside her home
but her smile is still there, when she waves at the neighbors.
The streets aren't full of pain, but the houses are.
Hot words should never be exchanged over a cold dinner.
The safe little house patches all the holes,
so they can sleep in a glass coffin peacefully.
They're skeletons to each other,
lives revolving around each other; against their will.
When the snap of the key breaking echoes through the silence
he feels the facade finally slip off his face
she'll paint him a new one on in the morning.
Collecting dust, they join the relics of frozen faces.