Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Joanna Dowdell Apr 2020
"I should have told you more often how gorgeous you are,"
he says while his lips cut deeper into my open wounds,
broken fragments of our memories littered throughout.

"I never wanted to be gorgeous", I say,
feeling his cold hands move through me.
Gorgeous women carry burdens I want no part of.
No, I wanted to be everything else.
I wanted to be loved.

But then you always say it - "baby you're so gorgeous",
and now I'm supposed to thank you for these bones,
for these eyes from my mother,
for a body you wouldn't love when the weight it carried wasn't

I lay awake holding love handles and cradling cheeks,
remembering every time a man called me "gorgeous"
and meant usable.

called me "gorgeous"
and meant agreeable.

called me "gorgeous"
and meant better if she's silent.

called me "gorgeous"
and meant too forgiving.

called me "gorgeous"
and meant less than whole.

called me "gorgeous"
and meant less than I am.

"Let me show you the parts of your body I like the most," he says
with a sly smile, constructing a mental roadmap.  
"No, let me show you the pieces of your soul that lured me", I reply.
I want to be introduced to the raw, untamed corners of your mind.
I want to compare the beauty of our understandings.
I want to be asked how it's possible that the entire universe can fit
inside of a kiss, a ring, and an outstretched hand.
I want to know why faces so admired fade from memory so quickly.

I never wanted to be gorgeous.
Joanna Dowdell Jun 2016
To the boy who almost bought me flowers... But the store was closed.
Or he forgot,
or he couldn't choose,
because he couldn't remember my favourite flowers,
or he didn't care.

To the boy who almost loved me well.
The boy who almost made me a wife.
The boy who almost loved my flaws, but just couldn't quite grip them.
The boy who I almost lost myself in.
The boy who almost took everything I had, everything I believed.

The boy who almost killed me.

The boy who almost won the lottery,
until he lost his beautiful winning ticket.

To the boy who hurt the girl who cared so much that she almost forgot
to love herself more.
The boy who didn't think she could wake up and realize
that she deserved more than being
"almost" happy.

The girl who is almost healed,
almost clean,
almost okay,
completely done.
Joanna Dowdell Jun 2016
She says maroon is her power colour,
because after the departure of her last lover,
it's the hue she saw spilt on the carpet,
the gorgeous ink leaking from her chest.

She wears burgundy dresses
with wavy beach tresses,
because they make her feel like a whimsical beauty,
the kind with her life well put together.

She paints bright red lipstick over her mouth
because it makes her feel like a sassy adult,
like a woman taking on the world
with her lips as crimson as the
blood she will extract if you scorn her.

Every day she looks in the mirror
at the incarnadine shades she made her veneer,
and thinks... maybe, someday,
my life will match this costume.
Joanna Dowdell Jun 2016
I told you things I’ve never said aloud.
I told you of the procession of men in my past who have left me -
Scattered pieces of myself, crushed like glass,
Crushed like a little girl whose daddy walked away,
Crushed like a woman whose brother never called,
Crushed like a lover who wasn’t enough,
Never enough, never worth the fight.

And as you held me and flicked my tear-soaked cheeks and said,
“I know, but I’m here now.”
I should have seen, in that moment,
Nothing would be different.
You could only continue the traditions of your predecessors.
Knowing this past changes nothing in our future,
Your sutures were poison, cutting the wounds deeper and deeper until


How do you look someone in the eye as they say “I would never”,
Knowing that they already did?
Joanna Dowdell May 2015
I miss you
before you've even left.
I see the writing on the wall
in distinct hue of my own blood,
but I swear I don't remember writing
a message stained "out of love".

My heart in my hands
no longer on my sleeve
small screams saying "stop!"
As it burns in the fire of
your hands
your mouth
not least of which,
your words.

Just a naive girl
with olive eyes
and a heart that overflows
I wanted to learn to be alone.
More than anything, I wanted to see
how it feels to be the one
with the heart less full of love.

And then in you came,
with your rainclouds
and your sticky wet fingers
that cling to every reason why not,
And I knew
we couldn't be the same.
We're growing apart,
but at least we're growing.
Joanna Dowdell Mar 2015
I used to look up at the sky to survey
Where your shadowy likeness was pinned away.

Musings of my love in astronomical height
But now, I hold nothing for your rock-filled kite.
Today I saw it shining
Extraordinarily bright
And immediately I knew.

The magnificent glowing moon;
Such radiance could never have been you.
Joanna Dowdell Feb 2015
A beam of light
In womanly form
How warm and bright was she?
Until the boy
Who loved her pain
Took all that made her happy.

He cut her deep
With serrated edge
Just to watch her bleed.
And would not halt
Though to the sun
Most surely she could lead.
His life in darkness
She could attest,
Was not what it could be.
If he had let
The light pour in,
His eyes could finally see.
Next page