i’m sorry for all the poems i wrote whilst you were gone
all the shouting i did about somebody else’s mouth
i had some growing up left to do under the aborted tenderness of another.
somehow, i went backwards.
i’ve never been able to write about you, save for that one poem, about how you left whilst never really being there to begin with. i’m still struggling now.
i flesh you out, broad shoulders, narrow hips, those strong, strong legs. your weak heart.
every time i put pen to paper i realise
i do not know you.
the things you laugh at, then. the things you enjoy. what we eat together. our shared favourite drink. the way you only laugh that way for me. the unparalleled tenderness when so many others are watching. that brick wall i clamber over night after night, when we are alone.
what are you so afraid of, darling?
the little bird with a heart of solid gold?
the girl in the cape, the girl with the basket, the girl who is coming to blow your house down.
the girl across the ocean, the girl on the pavement, the girl wrapped in sheets – it takes you so long and no time at all to extricate yourself, to shed your skin. i wonder what she does with it once you’re gone. does she fashion herself a home from your discarded sense of self?
the girl with her own home, the girl with her own skin, the girl made of steel, she leaves you on the floor.
your fears and mine do not float in the same water. your fears and mine do not sink us together. your fears, the rock falling into the ocean, my fears, the ocean swallowing it whole. where does it land where does it land? our fear, then, the impression upon the sand as the rock slowly settles, our fear now, that slow, slow erosion, our fear forever, indistinguishable as it washes ashore into waiting hands.
i am not the ocean. the girl with the salt inside of her. i am not the ocean. the girl swallowing you whole. i am not the ocean. the girl coughing you up onto the sand. i am not the ocean.
you sink into me, regardless.
No matter what happens,“ Mark said, "I will stay here. I will always, always stay here.”
He put his arms around Julian and held him tightly. Julian exhaled, as if he were letting go of something heavy that he had carried for a long time, and leaning on Mark’s shoulder, he let his older brother bear just a little of his weight.