My schizophrenic ex-boyfriend swore on his life
that abandoned houses make the most loyal lovers.
They cannot play make-believe or pretend
They have untrimmed gardens with flowers still growing.
Their walls lined 
with forgotten artwork crying
to be in museums but settle to be explored by curious sojourners
And their doors are left open
to share their raw emotion, 
to give everything they wish they got back and ask for nothing in return.
Look at one next time you want to learn
what it’s like to embrace the reasons behind your loneliness. 
I am convinced
my wandering mind is protected
by bones that are still growing
and lined with flesh resembling museums with doors all over me;
I am too warm of a home
to turn down the opportunity
of hosting
every ugly thought,
every unforgiving memory.

My mind embodies this form of loving loyalty.
The first man who entered me
took his hallucination’s side
more than he did mine.
He had my heart in a nonconsensual mount
Every time he left me, I memorized his backside as the right answer.
If I learned anything from him, it was
You don’t have to be schizophrenic to hear voices
You just have to be empty long enough for your past trauma 
to reverberate throughout every room once lived in.
Their swirling hospitality reaches out
to every haunted memory when they get lonely.
Memories of my residents leaving
because I was too cold, but little did they know
my furnace was switched off
and because of my leaky roof,
but they never bothered to ask
how it happened, or patch it.
If they had, they would have known that my confidence 
in companionship tried to hang itself.
The crippling voices cut the rope with their what-if’s
so it just left a hole instead.

There was a knock sometime last year
my chandelier pounded in my living room cavity.
He said I was the one he wanted to settle down in. Held me like he wouldn’t leave.
He’d spend every day building me up like the ghosts never could when they were alive if
I’d just give him a key
to make sure my anxiety
would never turn me into a reflection of that dark, useless house down the street.
Reassured me he wouldn’t know how to leave the unique place that finally resembled him.
The place that gave him warmth. A sense of purpose.
His muse. Shelter.
The place he called home.


greyscale photo of a balcony window in an empty living room


In our last kiss, I could taste the jagged metal transferring from his mouth to mine. 
He couldn’t handle how damaged I was. My needed repairs took up too much of his time
He stepped out into the night air and told me my voices are a turnoff
and I apologized without thinking.
Silly me, I didn’t know houses were supposed to be a turn on. 
I thought I was supposed to be the only one you could truly count on.
“I’m sorry that you took one look at me and thought I should be condemned.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t the home you were looking for.”
“I’m sorry that apologies are the only thing I have left to offer.”
“I’m sorry you couldn’t see how I was.”
“I’m sorry I’ve had to change my locks so many times,
I don’t even know what key opens me up.”

Aliyah Rose

Aliyah Rose is a director, designer, playwright, and poet who received her BA from Drew University. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she is a waitress by day, and by night she is constantly working on theatre projects with local theatre companies, when she isn't at a local concert or snuggling with her cat.

What are your thoughts?