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Don't speak harshly,
Your words will form swords in me

Touch my cheek; speak gently,
And they will form worlds in me
the stubborn string of pearls
perched on my windowsill
browns and shrivels,
then drinks to drowning,
but never does it quite give up.

i have to stay,
for it will surely
be waiting for me
tomorrow.
there's no way i can ever be ready
for the change. the awakening
does not feel spiritual
like in the movies.
not like the frothy waves
& salty wind that bring
the main character
to their knees, sobbing
& praying, devoted
at once.

no, me, on a wednesday,
i washed my chest, my forearms,
my wrists & my ribs
with soft cream & warm water,
gently, like i loved myself.
i know i make you tired.
it's not the first night you've been mine.

8am, wake up, now!
kiss me on the forehead
after i've snoozed my alarm twice
as you leave me until the sun sets,
a few hours more, usually,

when you come back,
ready to sleep another night.
it's only with my eyes closed
that i ever see you.
22
once more around the sun,
though i'd hardly know it.

my houseplants are leafier,
my waist has swelled,
& i still cry at the sky.

still me, then.
down by the hollow,
wintry twigs await
their april leaves
but for now,
scrape my ankles
as i brush by,
looking up, around,
anywhere for new airs.
men cycle past me
down the only path,
pumping their legs,
"on your right"
yes, they've found them.
my cycle renews.
how shall i fill it?
here, in this patch
that brings such melancholy
peace? or in my home,
my self,
patch be ******.
maybe i love you.
maybe i want to know you.
i'm stumbling toward my center,
my inner child.
i wonder if she wondered
how i'd be at 21
the way i wonder about you.
tell me now,
do you still cry
to the same songs?
do you pause to breathe?
do you let the sunlight in?
do you remember me?
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