Loving you is a great personal war. I come up for air with self-inflicted bruises. I want to smother the places that your mouth has been before. Nothing is simple. Everything is hard. Not just the saying goodbye, not just the waiting around. I want to uproot the pleasantries you keep trying to plant here. Why can’t you come and go instead of always trying to leave kind words like seeds that won’t stop growing in the pit of me? You are hard to walk away from. I know that does not sound entirely complimentary. I do not think it is meant to. If I were another person this would be so much easier.
A scene: your hands twisted up on me, the early morning sun, the sheets. The wet heat of your breath on my bashed up knees, mouth pressed up against all of my black and blues. Two softer hearts on a different day.
I like to think somewhere there is a picture frame that holds all of my childish ideas of love. The best of you and the best of me are happy there, easily.
But here, I have a throat full of fear and a handful of my mother’s pain. I wear regret like a fresh coat of paint on a wall that needed to cover up some damage. I feel guilt for taking up a phone call’s length of your time. My ratio of good to bad days is laughable. I am not always feeling fine. I am not even feeling fine today. I can’t even take care of house plants, okay?
I realized lately that I am inactively trying to be the person my mother was when she met my father. The apple doesn’t fall far but it falls far enough for comfort. Sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I feel like when people say I am the spitting image of my mother, they are damning me to all of her mistakes: love life a Pat Benatar style battlefield where mine is the only body torn up over and over again.
I still don’t know how to balance growing thicker skin with learning how to let you under it.
A scene: setting up camp in the crook of your arm and breathing easily. Kissing you on the mouth without wanting to swallow you whole and run off in the morning."
I keep rewriting this poem.
I want it to make more sense.
I want it to be less honest.
I keep counting off things to blame it on.
Something about a rocky mountain high.
Something about the altitude messing with my head.
Something about missing the sound of your voice
more than anything.
I miss the sound of your voice more than anything.
Six days ago, on the bottom bunk of someone else’s bed,
I wrote you some words in a marbled composition book:
"I can’t go another day choking back
I love you.
I feel it in my shoulders when I breathe.”"