The Three Loves

My life has had three loves

Three men who have changed my lines

into the edges that they are now

Parts of me that were sketched in with pencil

are now lined in permanent ink

Sharpie graffiti on a bathroom stall

-the only way to erase it is to paint it all away

Removing what was there before and after.

 

One:

Was false.

His love was all flowery language and hyperbole

But there was no nourishment behind what he fed me

He was prince charming to my untouched innocence

But he carried the poisoned apple

Not all villains look like villains.

He

was everything I wanted because he made himself look that way

Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing,

my grandmother used to say

But I did not see him for the predator that he was

until it was too late

He had already bitten into me

My blood was spilt

My heart lay on the hard bedroom floor

Beside my fallen glasses

and jeans that I would never wear again

and I wanted to run

but you can’t outrun a beast

and you’re not supposed to let an animal chase you

and all my broken self could do

was hobble

So I left

in pieces

bit by bit

until I said “good bye” to him and the girl

I had once been

 

Two:

Was like a deep breath after being submerged

Lungs flooded with apathy and desperation

Desperate to feel like myself again

It had been so long since my body

felt like my body

But he made it talk, he made it sing

And he loved the song we made together

Though not as much as I did

I knew all along

I was more invested

And in tune with the “us”

But that was okay

Because he had me feeling again

Shadows of love and lust and yearning

and, as cheesy as it is, happiness

But some days

the talking stopped

The radio silence could go on for days

and it felt as though he was leading a second life

He was a stranger

even though

I could tell you what his father gave him on his 4th birthday

and that he thought he was a disappointment to his mother

Secrets were the blankets we used to cover up with at night

It wasn’t until after he had left and our relationship

was a crumpled liner note in the recycling bin

that I realized how much of myself I had hidden

in order to stay that quiet, meek, pixie-emotional-basketcase of a girl

he had met

I was a shrunken version of myself

Laugh not so loud

Voice at half-mast

I stopped asking questions for the times he made me feel stupid for not knowing the answers

But I felt like he had brought so much of me back

And there were nights we’d lie awake, talking about the apocalypse and science fiction

And he’d read to me from The Prince and Hitchhiker’s Guide

And he’d force me to read my poetry

And we’d fight about how he considered the genre of minority literature to be racist

And everything was perfect

with our political conversations and

negotiations in the bedroom

When we met for coffee one afternoon

after everything was over

after he had made the last decision for me

He was curious when I bit back

Sarcasm and cynic dripping

A smirk on my face

Pretending that seeing his angled face didn’t give me

heart palpitations

Didn’t make me feel like

throwing up my iced coffee

Didn’t make me feel like

drowning in his eyes

But, this time,

I saved myself

I threw myself a boughie and left

Without being submerged.

 

Three:

I wasn’t looking for him.

I found out later that he had given up looking for me

I had given up too.

but something in his hazy blue eyes on the afternoon we met

after casting our ballots for a new order

made me realize

This was different

Though I didn’t want to believe

of all the lips that have touched my skin

his created the most heat

The blush that he evoked from my cheeks

when his cloudy sky eyes pondered me

could stop the harshest frost bite

His caress, his caress could both soothe aching muscles

and thoughts and

Start a storm inside my belly

My hot and his cold fronts collided into a beautiful mess

This is the man who pledges his love every night,

countless times

who sings me a lullaby of “you are beautiful”s

to lull me into pleasant dreams

and his heart beat in my ear works better at keeping the

nightmares away than the leather dreamcatcher above my bed

His voice makes my heart speed up and slow down

And when the void comes too close to where I stand

He is there to cover me

Protecting myself from myself

He is the man to write home about

The one I find myself daydreaming into the future with

And if One made me figure out how to fight

And if Two made me figure out how to speak

Then Three makes me figure out how to accept

Accept myself, my past, my future.

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