I’ve built a bridge between
two worlds that fit
two sides of me
It creaks with weight and
looks like neither side (of course)
and it does only
what it’s meant to
On one side you see a burning building
and it’s so beautiful you can’t help
but look at it from a distance
yet still want to touch it
You think it’s burning the
rough edges and what will be left
is a pure diamond that will congratulate you
for staying and not touching
But it only burns,
new kindling added from the same
broken down houses
The other side has soft edges,
and a pink tint, like looking through
or an old photograph
Something about it makes you feel
right at home, and even the dark
is only for sleep
and not for nightmares
I sit on the bridge to guide
those who find me
but I’m stuck in the middle;
a blockade from one side
and the next
You can find me in the lock-jawed silence of every word I have never spoken when it meant the most – when the bombs were planted at the base of every heartache and mistake, and I only stood watching, mouth zip-tied shut.
I let the ruins of shattered memories fill me with ghosts I have never learned to forget, and at night they come out of my throat like flames.
Can you find the war still going on behind my eyes, and can you feel the loss inside me?
The shadows feel like old friends with daggers pressed into my back, but I hold them with love I’ve never stopped feeling. I whisper with my last breath that I will save them, when I never could. When they could never save me.
He called it trauma.
I didn’t even think the shell of myself was so cracked.
How was I supposed to know this is what it feels like when the war has gone on for years? Even though the white flags were raised, no one can let go of the anger.
I didn’t realize I was still dealing with the aftermath.
We tear our skin off so that our souls are bare and when they touch it feels electric. I feel the pulse of my heart and I wonder if you feel it too; I swear it takes up the whole room.
Your hands are on me and I try my damnedest not to think of him. My eyes fight to stay locked onto yours so I don’t lose myself in dreams of the past I can’t seem to shake off. I don’t think you see it that way.
You tell me things so sweet it make my eyes water and I try so hard not to hear his voice. I know I can’t say them back. I know you know it, too.
I haven’t been able to understand why you accept so little.
We dance like lovers do and I breathe you in to the best of my ability. In, out. In a little deeper. Hold. Exhale. I pray this silent wish is granted.
Side by side we lay, our limbs intertwined and mixed like they were meant to be that way. We look like an art piece and I think it looks a little sad. I wonder if you see it, too. But I don’t ask.
I could never pry my lips open wide enough to make anything in my mind a reality. I ignore the beat of my heart and try to get lost in yours.
I sink into you and I’m so glad you pull me closer. I empty my lungs in a desperate attempt to let myself be pulled so far in I melt into your skin, into your bones, into your life. I want to let you breathe for me because I can only seem to find toxicity every time I open my mouth.
When your eyes close and your breathing evens out, I whisper my love for you until my throat runs dry. Maybe if I say it enough it’ll find it’s way into reality. Maybe if I wish hard enough, it’ll come true.
I love you I love you I love you.
The sinkhole of my mouth,
the tragic words I whisper
when his eyes close for the night.
I never tell him I feel like lost tupperware
hidden somewhere on the top shelf,
in the very back.
When the connection feels lost and
somewhere along the lines
he could no longer feel me,
it’s heartbreaking to say my fingertips
still remember the skin of his back
when he lied down facing away from me.
He said I stopped looking at him
the same, but his image is still burned
into the back of my head,
and I will think of him every night
he no longer sleeps beside me,
and I will feel the lack of his presence
every time the bed doesn’t dip
from his weight. He said he no longer
knew if I loved him.
I will carry the weight of my failure,
of the love I never learned to express,
and the burden of my closed lips.
I don’t drink much. I can remember the last time I was drunk,
and that was months ago. One, maybe two. Then I’m done.
Being drunk only amplifies whatever mood my heart is in.
But one or two, and that softens it. The gray sadness
becomes a little more dull, a little more bearable.
Tonight I’m drinking water and it occurs to me;
I want a drink.
I wonder if he can feel me shiver in the middle
of the night when I’m lost in dreams you made into nightmares.
I wonder if he notices the way I trace
the ink on my skin and picture a hand of the past.
If I could I would make so many promises,
but I don’t trust myself to keep them.
My tongue has turned into ivy and they
wrap around words too soft for me to bear.
My skin has added a few layers from the cold
you left me with and I forget how soft
I used to be. That’s the thing, though.
You’ve taken who I used to be,
and twisted it.
His hands trace every scar I’m laced with,
kisses each dent and jagged edge as though
he could somehow fix my broken bits.
The worst part is, though,
I let him.
All I can think about is watching the sunset with a glass of something sweet.
Then we slow dance our way inside where you let me read your palms and you attempt to read mine. The florescent light from the kitchen bathes us in yellow and we slow dance in our bare feet on the cool tile.
The forever-present weight on my chest finally doesn’t feel so threatening and I can breathe right now with you. Tomorrow can dance before my eyes and I can sigh with a soft comfort in the safety of your arms.
Somehow we make it up the stairs and fall into old dreams still lingering in our sheets. Our fingers intertwine and we lose sense of who is who and all I know is I’m complete.
All I can think about is our love.