Why are your hands like the ocean?
Pull in, push out.
Come here, go away.
You learned to cry quietly because it's prettier that way. You hate that your cheeks get red- like transparent ghosts found a way to put handprints on porcelain skin. You wipe your tears before they touch your cheeks. Don't give any clues that you're breaking.
Remember the first time your mother told you to not look directly into the sun? You asked why and she just laughed. "You'll burn your eyes, silly girl." You remember this conversation each time she calls you her sunshine.
You were nineteen the day you were told, "you're so soft." It was the twenty-ninth time someone had told you this, but this time those words were coupled with soft eyes instead of a hard-pressed stare. Maybe you could have loved him. But falling in love meant jumping, and there were sharp rocks at the bottom.
You jumped once before. You jumped and swallowed seawater as you watched him standing on the bank scrubbing your poetry off of his hands. You remember water setting fire to the air inside your lungs as you realized that no matter how hard you screamed for him to just love you again, he'd only whisper, "you're just too broken."
You remember two months later- the first time hearing the pop of an orange pill bottle lid thinking that maybe you should write the time- like you're calling the last time you'd really be you. It was a "first kiss, first dance, missed call, last chance, yes, no, maybe-so" kind of night. The kind of night that puts your soul on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean. There's no coming back from that kind of lonely.
"Be good." She told you. You remember this when you go to type "food" in a text and your phone corrects it to "good". Your ribs drop off into an empty abyss. There is no fulfillment to the kind of starvation your hands feel when you reach out to hands that will never love you back.
Those bones hold you enough for you to sit upright in a hospital waiting room. Spine straight and lungs held in a panic. This happens every time they put cold hands on the parts of you that no longer work. New mothers tell you that children are a blessing- that they'll change your life for the better. Hollow eyes meet the baby blues of another and your hands grow heavy with longing as you realize that your junk really is just junk and you'll never hold tiny hands.
You wonder why you miss someone from years ago. You wonder why it is that you cannot remember what their voice sounds like but you can remember what it smelled like outside the day you two met. The last time you picked up a phone, your hands knew to dial their number. But you haven't called in ages now. You quietly realize that you only miss certain people when your body becomes medicine cabinet.
You now know that you have hands like the ocean because people may love you, but no one wants to stay on the beach after the sun sets.
You remember turning the mirror around and telling you mother the sun didn't shine that day.