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It’s been five months since you left
which means it’s been nearly half a year
of waiting for you to come back
which is to say that if my heartbreak
were a baby
it would be the size of a papaya
which means nothing
except now I want to cry
at the grocery store
which means I can’t escape you
even in the produce aisle
and I don’t know how to
stop wishing you were with me
all the time

On our first date you told me
you wanted a girl who you could have fun
grocery shopping with
except now I feel sad everywhere
and I’m no fun anywhere
which is probably why you left me
in the first place

Now I spend my nights wondering if
you found a girl with sunshine in her cheeks
and I wonder if she’s brave enough
to sing in the car with you
and maybe she dances in the
produce aisle in the same spot
I stand crying over fruits
and I’m thinking that’s probably
why you left me
not because I cry in public
but because in my mind there was always
someone better
someone more alive
more beautiful
and you got bored of reassuring me
that I was worthy of your time
I don’t know how to tell you
that you make me fall in love
with being alive
so instead I’ll tell you
that since I met you I’ve found
beauty in a rainstorm
and sometimes at night
when I feel so close to giving up
because it would be easier than
missing you
I hold my breath and listen
as rain knocks on my bedroom window
and I’m reminded that the first time
you touched me
lightning coursed through my veins
and brought me back to life
like a kiss in a fairytale
you woke me up when I didn’t know
I was sleeping  

I don’t know how to tell you
that before you
I traveled three frames
behind everyone
as the world sped by
and words fell from lovers mouths
after they had already walked away
I struggled to catch up
with jumbled words
that tumbled through my trembling lips
but I was always too late
so I became mute to save myself
the heartache
and when you came along
I had forgotten how to speak
so I stayed silent
instead of admitting how much
you meant to me

I know that if I were lucky enough
to be heard by you again
I would tell you that I want you
in the most mundane ways
like Sunday mornings with iced coffee
and menthol kisses
—like listening to you sing in the shower
and watching your eyes light up as you laugh
I want summer evenings at the beach
bowling dates and early morning hikes—

I’ve never known how to tell you
that I will always take you for who you are
and what you’ve done
so I tried to show you through
good morning texts
and words of affirmation
but I need to stop assuming
you know what I mean
when I speak in metaphors
so I hope someday my words find you
and you’ll understand that for me
you were never a phase
and I can only dream
that you can still see the rainstorm
you unleashed inside of me
all those months ago
My mother’s addiction is a shapeshifter—
It takes on so many forms it’s rumoured
that nobody knows its true face
It’s a master of disguise
it hides itself behind thin lipped smiles
and tired eyes—
It changes so often it’s hard to tell
if it ever recycles old forms
I frequently ask myself if I would
recognize her if I did not have her eyes
If we didn’t share a body for 7 months
would I know the sound of her heartbeat
even when she’s disguised as a dragon
—sober is the shape she fails to hold the longest
the edges between make believe and reality
blur almost as quickly as they form
It’s easier to be a flame than still water
so she burns down everything in her path

At home we don’t dare say the word addiction
we walk on eggshells like her cover will crumble
at the slightest vibration from the floorboards
—we glide through the hallways like spirits
there’s no need for a haunting here
ghosts already roam in the walls
you hear wailing more often than silence—
I’m beginning to think Halloween is my favourite holiday
because it’s the one day of the year
people can look into this haunted home
and they don’t judge me for what they see
behind closed doors
—I’ve never been one for haunted houses
but maybe it’s because I’ve been living in one
for 22 years without a break
I wish to escape from my own house of horrors
so why would I pay to enter somebody else’s
Instead I put on devil horns
and watch movies where there’s always a final girl
wondering if it would be worth my soul
to make a deal with the devil
so my mom can stop shapeshifting
so my brother can sleep at night
so I can finally breathe, even just for a moment

—my mother’s addiction is a shapeshifter
I hope someday soon I can see what she truly looks like
I have been living with a stranger for so long
I’ve forgotten what it feels like to recognize
the people you love
I found a girl who embodies the galaxy
her soul is made up of stardust
and I have never seen anything
more breathtaking

Her lips are made of the Milky Way
and when she kisses me it tastes
like summer nights and nostalgia
sunscreen and orange creamsicles
—when she cups my face with her hand
it’s a tenderness my body has never known
and sometimes it scares me just how
gentle a person can be
when they have the universe inside of them
but I know she’ll never hurt me
as long as the stars glimmer each night
her soul will be full of sunshine by morning

With constellations eyes she looks at me
and I forget there was ever a time
where she was not in my life
because I feel like I’ve known her forever

So maybe we were created
from the same star
the universe is a hopeless romantic
that loves a happy ending
so I’m hoping I get mine
the same way I hope that she stays happy
when she see cotton candy skies
as the sun sets and I’m greeted
by the galaxies inside of her
On our first date you didn’t kiss me—
instead you said my name softly
in a voice I didn’t know you could muster
and that moment felt more intimate
than any kiss I had experienced before you

Every touch from you is gentle
my body is an antique book
you’re careful not to crack the spine
—you know I’m better off half open
instead of broken
I’ll crumble in your hands if you’re not careful
so you ghost your fingers across my cheek
with delicacy I’m not worthy of
and wrap my curls behind my ear
slowly as to not ***** me

Your eyes trace over me like I’m art
and you’re a guest in my museum
—quizzically but longingly
you count freckles on my shoulders
like brush strokes in The Starry Night
and for the first time in my life
I feel beautiful
in the same way  
a rain storm is beautiful—
wildly untamed
and so unforgiving
There is a boy in my life
that reminds me of how it feels
to be hopeful

Emerald eyes and freckles on his cheeks
I yearn to trace like constellations
find the Big Dipper amongst his cheekbones
each time I look at him
I can wish upon shooting stars
—my very own Astraeus

His laughter feels like a March breeze
the first bloom of flowers
and sunshine on bare shoulders
he puts Mother Nature to shame
the embodiment of spring
unaware of the beauty he holds
inside of him

When he touches me flowers grow
from the darkest corners of my mind
my ribs sprout daisies
tulips grow in my lungs
and with every breath I take
gardens bloom

My sunshine boy I want to show you
just how important you are—
without you there would be no spring
and the world would forget
how healing it is
to feel the grass beneath their feet
after months of being trapped
inside their minds
I never believed in soulmates
the idea of having one person
hand picked for you by the universe
always left a sour taste in my mouth
I wanted to think I had more say
in the life I was creating
but then I met you and everything changed

Before you things didn’t make sense
it was like I was moving one frame
behind everyone else
but when you came into my life
everything finally sped up

Everyone told me love wasn’t possible
there are no such things as soulmates,
but you fit together with me
in ways I didn’t know were possible

You made me feel reckless
from the moment we first touched
I’ve been on fire
and even without you here the flames
are still burning

I can only picture a future with you in it
so maybe soulmates are real after all,
or maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic
who’s in love with a boy
that made everything he touched
feel like home
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