i owe you an apology-
you, in the crowd,
the one panicking about reading
or the mess at home
or the sheer volume of people
pressing into you like corners;
the woman who birthed me into this world
through hours of agony
as though that wasn't enough
because doctor appointment after therapy appointment after residential stay after thirtieth pound lost,
i've put you through countless
warped into months of agony
you never asked for;
and you, oh, mostly you.
you, because as hard as i've beaten my own heart into the wall,
and as deep as i let you bury mine,
i know, somehow, i managed to do the same to you.
you left, and i left two weeks after.
every night was a terror;
every morning was a letdown.
i ached constantly
and threw myself into books
like they would become oxygen masks until i could breathe on my own again.
and here's the thing, you know,
because you would knock my legs out from under me again and again.
"let's fall back in love," you'd say,
and i would fall to the ground and cry
"yes, oh yes,"
and it was all i wanted
until you changed your mind.
i spent a month in treatment
where they shoved food down my throat
so that my stomach bulged hard and hurtful,
so really it wasn't any different than the feeling i had when you promised me
this was the last time.
and then i got sick.
not "let's stop eating" sick, no, not at first;
not "let's put my guts into the toilet" sick, not on purpose;
i got sick from lack of love
and the second stomach flu i ever got in my life.
and there were times i'd get stag gered breaths
as i walked in the centres and cities
because i could still smell you on every other body
even though you were a thousand miles away
things get scary in the quadruple digits, don't they,
and so i stopped eating like i should again
because being afraid was more than being okay
and four numbers were too much,
it was like every calorie i kept in was a mile
i kept between us.
so i fought tooth and nail until i bled
to find a reason not to love you.
i made a checklist of new firsts-
(i checked off most of them too,
but they never touched my heart)
and that must mean i didn't love you anymore, right?
i found myself in beds of other boys,
always disinterested and tired and distant,
a motionless doll beneath their heaving, hot bodies.
i found myself feeling like all i could be
was a husk of skin to touch
and i should never aspire to do better,
because failure hurts more than the rough hands
of sex-crazed men who only wanted to cum inside you,
or wanting their dick in your mouth.
i could never do that to you, no matter how much
i needed to forget you.
i even found myself a boyfriend.
if i had a boyfriend, i had to love him instead of you,
i couldn't want to feel your arms
when i was lost in his.
he left me in my own bed at eleven o'clock at night
because he just couldn't do this anymore.
we never had sex. we hardly kissed.
and so i bled and i threw up my feelings until i could see them again,
and i'm so sorry, i'm back to telling you why i'm sorry.
i'm sorry it took me so long and so many cuts
and so many i can'ts to stop hiding behind men.
it was you from august til forever,
and telling you this was the rightest thing i have done in a year.
i'm counting the days til we talk again,
i want to see your face
and see it light up when you smile.
i'm ticking off the calendar's boxes
until you take your flight home
to the bay state from the plains of spain.
i'm shivering at the thought
of touching you-
your skin, your sleeves, your neck,
until it's okay again
to feel my lips wherever you'll let them.
and i get stag gered breaths
as we mesh together like our fingers
and find love finally in all the places
we never had thought to look.