And grief is the first thing we know,
shooting outside of our mothers like cannonballs,
leaving our first homes behind by force,
screaming. And grief follows us even
after, trailing our footsteps like an obsessed lover,
lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce.
You said you knew what I was talking about.
You said you saw it too. But there are scars
on my body you don’t understand
and they’re making me doubt your honesty.
You said, “Grief takes on too many lovers, baby,”
said, “it’s been inside me, too,” but your skin
is unmarked and mine shivers in anticipation
and I don’t know how to believe a word
you’re saying. Do you remember it, darling?
Do you even know the story? One night, I tripped
and fell into a puddle and Grief made it into an
ocean and we swam together for days on end
until my arms gave in. Does this ring any bells?
Okay, one night, I tripped and fell into an ocean and
Grief swam with me for days on end and my arms
grew stronger by the day. This is the lie I tell
myself. One night, I walked out of my house,
footsteps calculated, careful, sure. I saw an
ocean and I jumped in. Grief was the first
thing I knew and I wanted to unknow it,
so I jumped into an ocean of you and you,
touched by grief but resilient still,
swallowed me up and named the stars
after me. This is the real story: I met you
and everything I had known before you
I had suddenly forgotten. I do not want to fill in
the blanks in my memory.


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