15

I should’ve seen it coming:

10th grade and I was falling for you
like every other girl in our grade had.
We had joked about dancing together
and I had glared at you every time a slow song came on.

When you had worked up the courage to ask me,
“Apologize” was playing
and Scott was holding a conversation with you,
while I laughed at your nervousness.

And if we had known Journey
would’ve ended the night,
maybe things would’ve worked out differently.
It wasn’t your typical slow song.

Strangers waiting,
up and down the boulevard.

Tempo picked up and we changed
positions to a waltz.

Streetlight people,
living just to find emotion.

I remember you telling me to sing,
I remember laughing.
I was young
and very naive.

And now it is seven years
later
and you’re getting married
and I’m happy
for you.

Because for that girl,
the world is a little less lonely,
and you’ve found emotion.

Gentleness

I crave
softness
in the same way
that I fear it.

Of wanting something
that feels like playing with my own hair
between two fingers,
but won’t slip away as easily.

For wanting patience
and the simplicity of
interlocked fingers
and eyes meeting across
the space of two feet,
sitting in the middle of a carpet,
knees pressed together.

I want a love
that I can study.
I want a love that
doesn’t fidget in the silence,
but let’s me take them in.

I want a love
with clothes on.
With smiles
and kisses that equally light
my body like a hearth.

And maybe this is best
that there is no current interest,
that I’m  happy with friendships
and the little moments
I can’t plan,
the adventures to be had,
and the people
who walk back into your life
as if days haven’t passed.

Maybe I am given a grace period
from the chaotic rush
of romance to discover
a greater want:
a desire for tenderness.

Sleepy Hallowed

Your fingers curl around mine
and we are drawing the curtains closed
together.
The soft touch of your palms
against the back of my hands,
the way my back leans against your chest
and you kiss my head and it’s
almost time for bed.
The room is dark except for candles
on the dresser,
the end tables,
and we find our respective
sides only to have our legs tangle under the covers.
We sigh against one another,
our breathing keeping time with the traffic outside.
The streetlights don’t stream through either
room darkening curtain or blinds
and I turn my face to kiss you,
to thank you
for peaceful nights,
curled into your side,
in a house on the fork,
falling asleep to the sounds of sleepy streets
and cars holding the kids
who can only find peace
in midnight drives.

Authenticity 

While I still lack resolve,
let me say this:
there is something about
when you say my name
that strikes fear in me;
because the next words out of your mouth
are always the truths I’m not ready to hear
like you care,
like you’re here because you want to be.

But what’s even worse,
is that I believe them

—that we find ourselves
listening to playlists
in the back seat of my car,
where I got excited over choirs
and clap-backs,
where your fingers are making circles on my skin
and I’m talking a mile a minute

and when I apologize for it,
you laugh. Say: “you’re fine”
(though I know it)
I tell you: “I know I’m too much to handle”
only to have you negate it.

Three weeks ago I told you
I loved you,
not expecting to hear you repeat it.
Last night,
for the first time in a long time,
you gave me a reason to believe it.

When the “Best” Comes Pt. 1

It will be something simple like:
we will dance
in the kitchen,
and I’ll be cooking something edible.
And you will hold me from behind
still swaying to the music playing off
of whatever medium it comes through.
Our shoes will be kicked off
and the table will be set
and there will be a vase full of
lily of the valleys or hydrangeas
or peonies
and from the window,
light will stream in.
I will sit across from you
in our dining room,
we will join hands and
thank God for the food,
for this life,
for everything that aligned
just the way He wanted it, too.

Dear Future Love,

You have
five o’clock shadow
like sunset on your jawline,
like constellations peppering your chin in moonlight,
like letting the morning kiss your skin
and hairs stand on end
just so when your face brushes mine
it burns in a way
that I grow to like.

Because it’s not a forest fire kind of love,
it’s something subtle
and natural
like waking up to a new start,
a way to change yourself between
cleanliness
and grit.
Like we may never be perfect,
but our bed head and morning breath
is entirely worth it.

And God knows,
the last thing we need is
another love poem,
but let me say,
because of you
and what you will show me,
this love will be,
this world is
a more beautiful place.