living with loss

he knows me well,
walks through my apartment
like he owns the place,
casts a shadow on every
corner with even a
semblance of light
reflecting off it.

we live together.

the closet is half mine,
half his.
he fills his side
with all my traumas,
color-coded and
freshly folded,
ready to wear.

he owns the
air i breathe, too
and charges me guilt on
days i breathe too well,

i tip him extra.

half the fridge belongs to
him. he stocks it
with my memories,
plastic-wrapped and frozen
in time,
ready to be consumed.

most breakfasts are
nights at the hospital.

for lunch,
he’s spoon-feeding me
beeping machines and calling
for nurses, sleeping on
the ICU floor,

he wants me nourished and
full

and i swallow every bite.

this is loss.

and you might have not noticed
him, but he saw you here.

he was the one that made sure
every kiss felt like our first
and our last, the butterflies
in our stomachs
fluttering but heavy with
dread.

he’s bigger now that
you’re gone, too.

this is loss.

he knows my name.
and i know him more intimately
than i ever wanted to.

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hello

For years, your hellos
meant “welcome home”.
I was a soldier
every time you walked in,
running to you homesick
and wounded, looking
for the end of the war
inside me.

You put the
fires out every time,
defused all the ticking
bombs, declared my heart
a peaceful nation for
once –
finally.

How was I supposed to fall
out of love with you?
You didn’t even have the
decency to turn into a
monster;

The nerve to still be
your gorgeous self.

You ray of sunshine,
you light of my fucking
life –
I wasn’t afraid of the
dark until I met you.

The audacity to stand there
and continue to embody all
that is good and beautiful
and holy.

How dare you?
To become both my pain and
my healing, my executioner
and my very last wish.

Now my heart is a country
in turmoil, war-torn and
ravaged, bombs going off
everywhere,
a famine of the soul;

How dare you carve yourself
into my skin then expect me
to just shed you?

Rings on our fingers and
rings on our skin,
you were it for me.

Even now, I love you
is sub-text for everything
we say,
even “I hate you”.

We know this.

When I ask how you’re doing,
I’m saying you’re still
the love of my life.

I know your “I’m fine”
is just I miss you.
Blanket reality with
niceties.

We are so fucking polite.

Last night, I realized again
that I lost you.
It comes in waves.
It washes over.

I came to you gasping for
air.

I said “hello”.

hourglass figure

I’ve lost so much I don’t know how
to keep anything in my hands
anymore.
Not this love. Not even hope.
There are holes in my palms and
every thing falls through,
sand in an hourglass,
always a second too late.
If I no longer have the things
I think I deserve:
you,
living without melancholy,
the ability to recognize the
extravagant beauty of rain,
maybe that’s what I’m deserving of.
People slip through my fingers
like they’re made of water, and
when I try to hold on the waves
pull me into the ocean and leave
me there to drown. Every time.
I look for you, still.
Water filling up my lungs.
I look for you – still,
and for him – always,
but I can’t find anything.
Not hope. Not even comfort.
I thought if I deprived myself,
I’d learn to swim, alone, but
I’ve lost so much and I don’t know how
to keep my heart from constantly
having to rebuild itself from
the ground up.
She and I are weak.
When I was younger, all I longed
for was independence.
I sought it out like it would
save me. I lit a match
and flicked it into every gasoline-
soaked person I walked into and
ran – excuses to be both the hero
and the villain. I was saving me.
Now that all I have is myself,
I’m just tired.
Just here.
Drowning and on fire.

open

i cut my chest open to let you in –
this wasn’t conventional.

i’m saying
i didn’t fall in love with you –

i crashed into your infinite kindness
and broke my cynicism

shattering never felt so good.
i shed it all:

my past, what i knew to be true,
and the dark fog covering every thought

of my future. i even decorated the
tunnel with photos of us, hand-in-hand.

i turned my shiv into an olive branch
and extended it to you the minute

you said hello to me,
and i don’t regret it,

but now i have nothing left to fight with,
and the fog is in the tunnel,

and my past is living in my present,
and everything i knew to be true

is gone.
is a memory on the wall.

and i’m here, chest wide open,
without you.

forever

1.
the same way our first breath
is the beginning of our death

i knew the moment i saw you
that you would both resurrect
my heart and shatter it.

2.
i’ve always known too much
i don’t believe in forever
and hope has always been a foreign
language i can’t quite understand

3.
but still

your eyes were kind.

4.
and they looked at me like they
believed in me.

5.
when you wouldn’t let me kiss you
until i let you wash the word
“dread” out of my mouth,
i offered my entire anatomy to you,
said,
do what you want, please,
just don’t leave

please

6.
our first fight was when i had
a panic attack the moment i realized
how much i loved you

7.
our second was when i ridiculously
claimed i loved you more

8.
i don’t believe in forevers

9.
i knew the moment i met you
that i was going to have to
explain to everyone i knew how i
suddenly believe in
love at first sight when i had
been its most vocal
opponent for over two decades

10.
i also knew i would have to lose
you some day

11.
because i don’t believe in forevers

12.
but oh god,

your eyes were so kind

13.
and i couldn’t look away from them

14.
i let myself love you
and
you loved me more than i deserved

15.
i don’t believe in forever
but i don’t care

16.
so if pain has always been our destiny
i promise i will carry both mine and yours
on my shoulders,
i won’t let you feel a thing
please don’t worry
don’t think

just kiss me one more time

maybe

in barcelona
the sky is pink always
a soft tint kissing
every face that walks under it
a divine love reciprocated

and maybe
here
the stars fall gently into our
laps when we’re sitting outside,
a little magic we can hold in
our hands to light our way
home

maybe
in barcelona
nothing ever feels out of of place
and everyone belongs to everyone
and everything
and our hearts are steady
and warm and safe and light

and maybe
here
we don’t know what pain is and
death isn’t always hanging over our
heads like a guillotine
inching just a little lower
each day

and maybe
here
i can actually become
something

and maybe
in barcelona

i can actually stop loving
you

 

999 days

He lifts the sun at dawn and carries
it down when nightfall comes.
And in between, he pulls his heart from
his chest, slices it into equal pieces,
hands us each a portion on
a silver plate.
He nourishes,
and when the skies can’t
hear our prayers, he fills his hands
with wishes fulfilled and passes them
around the table, his love and grace
echoing in the silence.
We take, and we take, and he carries
the sun still, and the moon, and the
stars in his pockets and on his
shoulders, coloring the world as
he moves through it,
with love graceful and unconditional.
He smiles, and the flowers bloom,
and the sun shines warm from
having been touched by him.
And when the world goes dark,
he whispers lovingly into its ears
and all is light again
his voice healing absolutely
everything.
That day he got too tired,
I pleaded with him to rest.
I asked him to close his eyes.
I told him not to worry.

I said “rest”,

and it’s been over two years and
the world won’t let me take it
back.