we used to jump over fences
until one of us inevitably got hurt
it was always me
i’ve always been good at losing my footing
my main talent has always been forgetting
you used to punch my arm
and we would hide in the storm cellar
we spent summers building roofs
and digging up more space
now it’s a forgotten monument
in a backyard with no fence
a staple of my childhood
i haven’t been inside of since elementary school.
i didn’t swing the hammer when i should have
you yelled at me with more vigor than i liked
your behavior has always been innate
you shoved more than you pushed
but i guess i compartmentalized until it made sense.
i forgot until i couldn’t.
i was in love more times than i can count
before i met you in the heat of summer
in the wrong coffee shop
on the wrong street
but maybe i was never in love before you
every girl who’s hands have mingled with mine
have always felt forced
it was anxiety hugging my body
tighter than any of them ever could
and a cloud of desperation
separating them from me
love was always about power
or who could lust the hardest
i always won.
i always left first.
you’ve showed me that isn’t love at all
but i beg the questions
what is love
who am i to say
who are you to give it to me
who are we to create feelings only we can feel
we are artists making notes of reactions
while we show each other a world we never knew existed
the things that have always happened
in our peripheral vision
but never felt important to notice
this is what i want to feel
just follow the blue line
it’ll take you to the in-betweens
of all your decisions
before you can ever make them
one step leads to another
until you find a place you want to stop
rest your head at a travelers inn
a ***** motel off the highway
you can hear the bugs crawling in the walls
so you light up a cigarette in bed
buy a six pack of beer you don’t like
from the local gas station
the guy doesn’t card you
he just wants to know where you’re from
don’t tell him you ran away here
to a small town in another state
to stay in an old ***** hotel
because you got your heart broken by some girl
these are details that don’t matter
you laugh it off and say you’re passing through
well i hope you pass through again soon
i’d like to hear your voice again
with a brief head nod you are out the door
thinking about your hotel room
and chain smoking
and never going home again
the lines on the highway
are the closest thing i have to home
there are miles between
the people who held my heart with gentle hands
and the people who snarled their teeth to tear it apart.
i think of my grandmother's tears
falling from her face to my arm
and my grandfather's last exhale of hope
telling me that i have to be good
we are family mija
we are together to be good
i imagine blade penetrating skin
to be covered in the blood when it exits
i imagine his beer falling from his hand
soaking into the ground
all over the fence
jump the fence.
jump the fence.
can you jump the fence?
the sun removed his alcohol saturated blood
from the ground my grandfather called holy
sometimes we stand at the window
he signs a breath of remorse
a breath of regret
a breath that says everything
this is not my home.
where my heart was torn apart
by snarled teeth.
there are only lines on the highway.
this was the first.
i ached for you to grow a backbone
as strong as the one
you always pretended to have.
you crushed the positivity and optimism
i falsely provided
in hopes you would find it comfortable.
it was never comfortable.
your mother peaked over you shoulder
to ensure you left me.
you made me stop smoking
but i never really did.
it felt like a dream beneath parking lot lights
as the smoke filled my lungs.
at least now i’m free.
does this mean i can **** other people?
it was the summertime
your breath was as hot as the pavement
i willingly put my barefeet on
to meet you by the curb
you were at the beach
i was in my bed
you talked about faith
and constant comparison
of who you are and who you were
nothing was good enough for you.
i had no intentions of hurting you
letting you cry into the sand
next to a person who didn’t even know my name
but intentions aren’t always executed
i ripped your love from my chest
and tossed it to the side.
it only took three months.
if i had to prioritize the losses of that winter
you are not ranked number one
not even number two.
i did not cry for you
it made me sick
you made me sick.
i clang to a bottle of whiskey
sulking in regret
but not for you
it was never for you.
i thought about your father
the way he exuded disappointment
the first time we met.
it was almost a game to me.
i thought about your mother
i imagine she cried and cried and cried
reminding you of who you were
to anchor you to the picturesque daughter
she had always dreamed of.
i thought about your brother
he was a joke to me.
the stature of a man
with the demeanor of a child.
we were never going to last forever
not even in my best dreams.
this one was the worst.
it hurt the most.
i don’t think you cared.
why are you here
your main talent was making me feel
i don’t know why i stuck around
this one hurt the most.
forced conversation reminded me
we don’t have enough in common
and you’re not that interesting.
i knew everything about you
while you didn’t know me
how was i the person you loved
when you didn’t know me
why do you even want to stay
just go home.
this was the end.
i wanted to call you a liar
and tell you i never really trusted you
but i held it in
i don’t think i was in love with you
not the way i used to be
not the way i wanted to be
not the way i pretended to be.
you always should have known
i wouldn’t be the person
you could live the rest of you life with
you never stay with your first.
i knew that in the beginning.
maybe we’ll get back together in the future
or maybe i’ll never hear from you again.
i keep the words i want to say
hidden between my teeth and tongue
one day they will come out.
one day my heart will stop hurting.
sometimes i think about you
laying in your bed
talking about nothing important
i hear songs that remind me
of lazy winter afternoons
we kept promising
to quit smoking
i’m too full of pride
to admit that i miss you
sometimes has become all the time