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My Temple - Ty Franklin

You pass me a red cup full of soda and vodka

Making sure that it never goes completely empty.

The hum of the fluorescent lights beating against my eardrums.

My knees press against my chest as we talk in my dorm.

The vodka spilling into my blood as my weak heart pulses.

You glide your fingertips across my hot cheek

And with a smile, you comment on my drunken state.

Your breath smells of peppermint and longing.

Your lips press against mine and my head starts spinning,

Not in a pleasant way but a warning for what is to come.

You lay me back onto the bed, moving slowly but efficiently

As your fingers find my buttons.

The vodka screams in my head and black swells cloud my vision.

I look around frantically trying to figure out where my clothes have gone.

I lie there, unsure of what to say or do.

“Are you okay with this?”

“I… I don’t know. I’m really drunk.”

I may as well have said yes.

You are inside of my temple, rearranging the decor.

My wallpaper is being ripped from the walls,

The incense I so carefully placed, knocked over,

Starting a fire inside.

I need to get out. The smoke alarms are blaring.

You exit first, leaving my temple destroyed.

There is little left for me to work with.

The fire has eaten everything up.

You say how nice my temple was

And how much you enjoyed your stay.

You were trespassing but you act

As though I gave you the master key.

You say I left the door open;

That I didn’t have a “Do Not Enter” sign up

So it’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong.

But you did.

My roses are thrashed, vases shattered.

It takes me years to rebuild my temple.

A few visitors have come by but none have stayed.

I don’t give out any keys,

Just temporarily open my doors.

You still owe me for the damage

But I know you’ll never repay me.

Regardless, nothing you could offer me would ever be enough.

I have to start from scratch

And make my temple mine again.


Ty Franklin (they/them) is a graduate student at Western Washington University. They are currently a teaching candidate and received their BA from Seattle University in Creative Writing. They grew up in both Washington and Hawai`i as their maternal family lives on the Big Island. Ty cannot fathom living somewhere more than thirty minutes from the ocean. When they are not teaching, they are coaching high school bowling or spending time with their family and cats.


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