It’s been two months, and I still can’t close the blinds
or tear my watering eyes away from the door.
I imagined your arrival so many times that
my mind has started confusing it with a memory.
I’d picture you standing there in my living room
with your hair tied loosely in a bun, and your petite legs
peeking out from underneath the hem of my tee shirt.
Everyone tells me that it gets easier.
That I’ll forget you over time, but I don’t want to.
They say that the first month without you is the hardest,
but I’ve found that every day that passes is harder
to survive than the one before.
There’s something missing along my neck
just between my ear and shoulder.
Years ago, that place held your head as you slept
through a drive from Augusta to Boston.
Now it cups my pillow and occasionally hosts
the hands of a one night stand as they wrap angrily around,
trying to squeeze the life back into me.
Last night, I erased our names from the corner of my mirror
where I had written them in red lipstick hoping it would
stain the glass permanently. It didn’t. I wonder
if it’s the meat or muscle memory that my heart is made of
which holds you, stained, inside of me.
In the beginning, I found you hiding the most beautiful parts of yourself.
They were tucked neatly beneath your pride and respect for others, and
when I asked you about them you covered them with a blanket of second
guesses. It took months to know you, but only minutes to know that you
were the other half to the rest of me. My parts were also covered beneath
the fear of rejection, but when I see them sitting so closely next to yours
I know that there is a place for them in this bright new world. We aren’t
complicated. We are lovely. We aren’t broken. We are beautiful. Far more
beautiful together than we have ever felt apart, because the light in your
eyes shines over me like a hundred setting suns. And the passion between
us clears away all of our doubts like an ocean breeze as it overwhelms us.
Covers our skin like grains of sand, and fills even the deepest crevices.
You have become a part of me. Like the wave will never leave the shore,
I know that you and I are meant to be together. I find my heart beating
stronger, each beat crashing into another, and you make me feel alive
again. You, my precious lover, you make me feel again. Should we ever
lose that feeling… should life, and the world’s fear of the unknown come
between us… I ask not that you stay with me. In fact, I encourage you to go.
Follow the miles away from here that lead you to the aquatic horizon. Bury
your toes in the sand, and wait for me at the shoreline. I will meet you there.
And as every wave crashes down, I hope that it reminds you of every time
I’ve whispered “I love you.” I will take your hands in mine and fill the spaces
between your fingers with my own. Because that is where they belong. Uncovered.
Unashamed. Unapologetic. Darling, If ever you feel lost just meet me at the shore.
"What is the point?” She asks me. Questions
shimmer behind her dark blue eyes. They remind
me of a Tennessee river bed. I breathe in deeply.
The smell of pine overwhelms my senses.
I know by the quiver in her voice that she is
asking about something so much deeper than
the point of us. The point of this. Something
far more complicated than most care to comprehend.
She is asking about life. The very reason
for our being. She wants to know why she exists.
I am still far to young to have all of the answers,
But I tell her what I know to be true.
“The point is to improve. To create yourself,
and leave the world around you better than
you found it. And love… like it’s the last thing
in the world that you will ever do. “
She takes it all in. It sounds so easy when you
say it with confidence, but she knows by my
lack of affection and fleeting glances that
sometimes things really are easier said than done.
I am finding my place in the world,
And oddly it reminds me of yours.
I wear my heart on my wrist, just the way you taught me,
each lover dangling like a charm.
I traveled from coast to coast
Searching for someone who could teach me life’s lessons.
Instead, I found them on a back road in Tennessee,
As experience poured from your memories.
There is an unspoken truth between us.
If one of us hurts, we all hurt.
If one of us succeeds, all three of us have made it.
I work hard, because that is the example that you set for me.
I am strong. My lip no longer quivers,
because when I was five, you told me not to cry in public.
I have a temper that is unrivaled by Greek god’s
Or semi-truck drivers.
The men, they love me.
You often tell me that I get that from you.
And in the rare instance that women look your way,
I tell you that you must have gotten that from me.
I cannot be held down, because that Christmas
- the one where I slept between you in the basement -
showed me that when you want something,
You might have to fight your way out from under elbows to get it.
Our love is unconventional, most of our conversations
Involve screen shots from Facebook and
Take place in group-text messages.
You tell me that sisters shouldn’t be apart for this long. I agree.
But we are always in this together,
And sometimes, long distance does work out.
I will always cherish the love you have given me,
and the safety I have found inside of your hearts.
I hope that one day I am more
than just the reason your hair is falling out.
Despite your insisting that I owe you nothing,
I’m a better woman today
because of the influence you have had upon me.
And I will never forget that the most important thing in this life
Rain never falls when you want it to.
When you need it to.
And the sidewalk never ends. Places you’ve never been
Staring back at you.
Bruises on your knees show the times you fell
Over someone else.
And the scars on your heart reflect the stories you tell
From your bar stool hell.
You’ve spent your whole life praying for things you’ll never see.
Things you really don’t need.
All you really want is a place to lay your head.
In a lovers bed.
She doesn’t feel the same. You find the letter by the door.
She can’t do it anymore.
So you let that girl go, if she comes back she’s yours.
You’ve heard the bullshit before.
As you pick yourself up your pride is dragging the floor
You’ve been here before.
And you’re sure “It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it’s all okay.”
“It’s always okay.”
Can’t you tell you’re so much more
Than a failed fairytale?
You’ll never save her. She can’t even be reached
By the woman who raised her.
Your heart, you’ll find, is as deep as a well,
And perfection exists on a sliding scale.
There is always a reason. It is not her it’s you,
You’re finally through.
The skies open up and the rain falls down.
It’s a deafening sound.
It all washes away, life’s a temporary thing.
Night terrors aren’t an uncommon thing for me,
and lucid dreaming is something I’ve been capable of since childhood.
It’s a defense mechanism I use to escape the fear. I’m mid-dream,
forcing myself to remember that I am safe here, but still curious
enough to not awaken myself. I’ve been in this place before.
I’m sixteen again, sitting on the cold hard bench in our
happy meal sized locker room, and furiously choking
Back tears that are desperate to fall somewhere.
The room is empty. Aside from my shaking whimpers,
I hear only the roaring of the central unit air conditioning
pumping through the vents and a few steady, faint dribbles
of a dedicated athlete just beyond the gymnasium walls.
No one knows that I am still here. No one cares.
I have been breaking down for months. Coming out
has made life far more difficult than it was when I was simply
poor, white trash. Now, I’m gay, poor white trash. In the South.
No one here knows that in elementary school, my intelligence level
tested far about average. I was placed into advanced creative
classes. I would have probably excelled at the top of my class,
but I wanted to play sports and be popular. To do that, I had to come here.
The very thing that I thought I wanted had become the most
painful part of my life. The girls stare at me as we change, to ensure
I’m not staring at them. They claim that my presence makes
them feel uncomfortable. The dyke freaks them out.
So, here I am now, late for class. Crying because my girlfriend’s
father found the burner phone that her Aunt got her to keep
in touch with me. A few short texts, and a few death threats later
my knuckles found the grate on the front of the lockers.
The pain seared through my arm. I could feel it in my sleep,
just as I had the first time it happened years before in real life.
However, this time when I reach to throw open the exit door
and make my way back to a classroom I didn’t want to be in
it won’t budge. I tug again. Nothing. This time the door
begins to disappear. It’s frame bleeds into the wall, and I am
trapped inside of my worst nightmare. My own memories.
I contemplate waking myself up, but it becomes apparent this
is something that I have never dealt with. I begin opening
the lockers one by one. They’re empty. Over and over, I swing
wide their metal gates to find deep black holes inside.
I can feel my body tense, and breath quicken. I open another door.
Inside, there is a mirror approximately shoulder height.
I am looking at myself, but she doesn’t look like me. She is older.
Weathered. Mysterious. I clock in this moment that I am not alone.
She is not a reflection. I turn to face her, this woman inside of me.
She is quiet, so unlike me at this age. She knows things.
I can see in her eyes that she has survived immeasurable odds.
I reach for her hand, only to be ignored. As she walks past, I realize
she is not here to save me. She is trapped here too.
My heart pounds. I am breaking down. This no longer feels
like a dream. I know what this is. This is my mind reminding me
that I am not okay yet. That my biggest problems, my greatest fears –
they are all self-inflicted. I have let nothing of the past go.
I scream at her to look at me. To tell me what to do. I ask her
to lead me out of here, us both out of here. She stands there
with her shoulders back, her head high, and she tells me…
“This is not life. It’s a corner of the world during a moment of time.”
I know that she is right. This locker room is a metaphor. It is temporary.
There is opportunity waiting just beyond these walls,
and I am not a broken china doll. I am not poor, white trash.
I look at this woman in her blazer and heels. She is me in ten years.
She is the result of tragedy and perseverance. She is the product
of love and loss, and clinging to pieces that have been picked up
off the ground until they can be glued together again.
She is a woman. She is strength. She is reliable. She is indestructible.
Paint peels from the walls revealing the missing door.
She makes no effort to go through it. I know that this is
something that I have to do alone, but she will meet me out there
in the real world. We will find each other. My destiny and I.