Road Trip Poems: Holly Hill, SC

He loved me when I was a warrior,
whipping off the helmet to expose the mane,
kissing his lips just so he could lick away ash
as I peeled off the armor.

He loved me when I was a coward
and I didn’t unlock the roar in my chest.
When I held my body like a cupboard and
he kept picking at the locks,
if only so I could take a look inside and see.

He loved me when I was raving,
when he drove me mad but still brought me
to the keys, still kept the ink from fully drying.
Called me words like “pretty” and “amazing”
and was gracious enough to meet me in a time
where I was rediscovering the hope chest in my stomach that had stashed away my “worthy”,
with instructions to “only use when ready”.

He loved me
before I put him in these poems
and chose to write about others instead.
He loved me when I confused touch for emotion
and leaving for reciprocation.

He loved me—
and waited until I swore off fireworks,
to come back into my life
and write about how I see the night
in blazing color,
how life is now a never ending metaphor
for explosions
and awe-slacked jaws if only you let those
who knew your heart when you were closed off
in.