People see my body and stare.
Then look away,
Drawn towards me. They want to envelop me,
cover me, save me, protect me.
Shelter me like a roof. Catch the raindrops
from hitting my face.
My face is open to pain.
My face is a book of betrayal.
My face was painted with dying hope.
I am in love with being loved.
Having love forced on me- making love-
of having it shoved in me, twisted and jabbed
and my voice smothered and stifled,
hands ensnared, throat crushed.
Am I in love with this?
Drawn towards me, they want to envelop me,
smother me, wreck me, infect me.
Scatter me like ashes, spread me thin in a windstorm
so my body will never be connected
They tell me I am in love with being broken.
They stare, and they know my body is theirs.
It has never been mine.
There are cracks where past lovers shine through.
We will do that for you
so they tell me.
Partway thru and
I begin to grit my teeth into the pain
I can take 5 more minutes
It’s not the same
He’s not the same
I don’t have to sacrifice myself
Or bite my tongue
He loves me
He will listen
And it hurts
All the way thru and
My fingers come back red
He looks pale
That’s a lot of blood
I feel grim and all-knowing
You’ve never had a period
He keeps asking
Are you okay
I keep replying yes
Getting ready to walk home
It is too much to explain
This blood is nothing
That is okay
What is not is my soul
Which now bleeds for the past
Which will be sore tomorrow
And bitter, and vengeful
Holding grudges against
The motions of a long-ago person
I feel in your body
The marks someone else left
on your skin beg me
to recall how,
in the rain, we embraced so strongly
that morning we first met
and of later
the courage it took
to push the first “I love you”
off my dry tongue
The marks on your skin were
not left by me, nothing to do with me
yet they are everything and
I can’t tear my eyes
from the reddish bruises
an outline of her lips
a reminder of not-me
I leave with an offended ego
wrapped in my hands like something shameful
and the thumbprint of fear
embossed on my heart
With you I am silent- I curl into the S of your body
and linger over the pounding rhythm beneath your skin.
With you I am hesitant- drifting like a balloon released
from a child’s grip, aloof and straying too far away.
With you I am magical- my incantations will drip and slide
across the bedsheets to widen your eyes.
With you I am bitter- incessantly licking my wounds,
dredging up venomous words that I wanted forgotten.
With you I am timid- slowly swallowing my inadequacies,
tucking each fault under my coat to study later, alone.
With you I am famished- tearing at your silky hair
with desperate shaking hungry hands.
With you I am safe- layered in our whispers of faith,
awash in your breath like soft salty waves.
It was a beautifully heartbreaking moment. We were lying there in the dark, sharing thoughts in whispers. Listening to the house quieting down around us. We had been touching, tangling for so long it felt sweet to sink into the downy pillows. We lapsed into silence. The fan was whirring above us and the frogs formed a faint chorus outside. His breathing began to slow and deepen, shuddering slightly on the inhales. I gripped his arm. He was falling asleep and I was alone right next to him. I wanted to pull him back, to be conscious together and share the beauty of the moment. There was so much to tell him. All the long-lost apologies welled up in my throat and their urgency leaked out from my eyes. We had been together and then I was alone. Please come back.
I was crying now for everyone who has woken up or opened the door or picked up the phone only to find their partner is gone forever. I cried for all the hurt in the world and it came to me in gasping sobs. I shook quietly so as not to wake him. He was so peaceful. His shape was perfect against the bed. I sat there watching him, hoping he would wake up and hoping he wouldn’t. I wanted to say I needed him but it wasn’t true. I needed to have my hair stroked, to be held tight, and to love fiercely without cause or hesitation. In that moment, I did. I longed to press my hands to his cheeks and kiss his forehead and love him with abandon. It was enough to imagine how we could change the world if we tried.
As I eased myself out from under the covers, he grabbed me in his sleep, slipping his hand down my torso as if to keep me there. I paused. I knew it wouldn’t last, and I cried for that too. It was time to go home.
Bruises on skin where my teeth have sunk in
Your flesh is a fruit when it’s marked
Sweat slicks your cheeks like dewdrops on peach
Drip-drops on my stomach in the dark
Taut muscles working and tightening, churning
Your body is a sculpture come alive
Sweet quiet breath hits hot notes on my chest
Melts into a river of rose hips and sighs
A mouthful of sweet nothings
finished with smiles like sugar
spread love thick like frosting
coat my skin with splenda and
allow a splendid sigh at the aftermath
slowing exhales commingle
in our soft morning daydream
honey dripping through the curtains
kissing sticky candy lips drifting
so time to sleep, my sweet.