this is the hardest part–
that boy is not made of fists.
that boy learned how to braid my hair.
these things do not untruth themselves
when the first door slams,
the way I did not stop loving him
all the months I was holding my breath,
& this is the hardest part.
the way a fish is still a fish
even after she’s been gutted.
even after her lip’s split clean in half
from the hook
& the hook
& the hook.
& do you think the fish blames herself?
& her own stupid, open mouth?
do you think the fisherman apologized?
said all he wanted was to hold her.
said, I’ve touched that hook for years
and it never once pierced me,
how could I have known?
& do you think the fish forgave him? said,
I’m sorry, too.
I promise I’ll try harder
to breathe outside the water.