The Actual Abuse Poem

I want a love
where I don’t have to
bargain my body,
where we don’t
fix things
by you hitting me.
—-
I want the only
kind of compromise
to be between my
Maker and me.
I don’t want another conversation
in the basement
with my mother
to tell her how badly
I was bleeding.
—-
I don’t want to be shocked
that it shouldn’t have
hurt me.
—-
As a concept,
I still miss us,
still want all the places,
the promises. I can’t listen to
classical without thinking of
the opera, and I’m
dreading going back to Philly
without a hand leading me.
—-
I want a love
where love poems
come easy. Where
‘hurt’ can’t be found
a concrete thing.
—-
I want a love
that loves me,
that puts in effort,
that keeps me happy.
I want a love
that doesn’t make me choose
between them
or me.

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Exits with No Shortcuts

It will always be easier
to blame emotions
than to blame you.

It will always be easier to
hate me
than to hear me out.

That’s okay.
I’m glad at the progress I’ve made.
At the person I am,
happy,
and trying to love myself better
than I did then.

I didn’t really like myself,
then.

It will always be easier to say:
“It ended”
than there are days
where I can’t shake the
memories of
you loving me
well.

Not well “enough”
or barely,
but actually holding me in my fragility
and accepting me,
wholly.

It will always be easier
to blame the bad parts,
the last months,
than to blame you.

It will always be easy
to wish you well,
but,
if I’m being honest,
it still stings to say
“Goodbye”.

The Eulogy of the Dead “Me”s

Without saying it,
I know;
it is the last time I will talk to you.
Our conversation:
the last branch that will bow
to each other’s will.
A goodbye,
but not a “sorry”,
on either side.

I am dead to you.

And yet,
the thing that makes this entirely unfair
is that until it happened
I did not let the “her”
you killed be dead to me.

Let this end with
the submissive me,
the one who was internally cringing.
Let this end with the girl
who memorized your face on the train,
instead of blurting, “I’m sorry.”
Let this be the girl who holds her body like
apology.
Let this be the girl
that you made feel unpretty.
Let this be her
that wasn’t her,
or her,
or that one chick with the nice ass in the mall,
and let her cry ugly.

I am dead to you.
And that’s okay,
because, in truth, “she”
was never,
nor someone I want to be ever,
me.

Shadow Self

This time hurts more
than the first.
You can celebrate that small
victory.

I miss ______
more now than I did then.

I miss my confidence,
and my laughter.
I missed the faces I’d make without
second question.

I miss feel worthwhile
or interesting
or even like somebody
other people want to talk to:
not vent to or hook-up
with.

I miss being a person
rather than a body;
I’m tired of dressing a certain way
to make myself feel
pretty.

I don’t think I am
pretty.

That’s a shot at my ego
that shouldn’t matter as much,
but—

Today a crush
asked about some girl
who’s your typical
definition of American’s
sweetheart mixed with
perfection….

and you knew,
for sure this time,
you’d never be the one.
By “you”, I mean “I”,
I’m still trying not to be sad
about it,
but sometimes

this weather cloys the air
until all I want to do is
sleep
and wake up and you,
yes you,
be there and apologize
that I’m having a bad dream.

Like that would fix everything.
Like you’d try this time to fix
anything.

Most of all,
I miss my sense of self,
my pep talks,
the security in my being
knowing who I was,
who I am
is good and
enough.

I made some people
laugh today.

That is the only thing
I am capable of
that makes me feel like
me.

Finding Shore

Today my family looked at furniture
and I thought of you.
My mom doesn’t know that I anchor my hand
inside of hers when we are leaving places
because my eyes aren’t ready for the exit.

Instead,
they’re painting pictures
of you and I between dining sets
preening ourselves in gilded mirrors,
entangled limbs and mouths
falling backwards into couches,
laughing.

It’s easier to write about what was,
over a month ago.

It’s easier to not write at all,
when the pain capsizes
within you.

I still ache.

And I pray
for your happiness,
for someone to find your companionship,
for you to have hope,
in all things.

Not because I think it makes me a better person
or because I’ll be closer to God,
but because you have always been worthy
of all those things.
So when I find harbor in the small grouping
that is my family,
when I return to a unit,
it is not to hide away from every memory.

It’s to be able to walk through a room
with you in every nook and cranny
every cavity of my chest where I can still feel you
sighing and content,
and know that of all things you are
deserving of,
I am worthy of them, too.

I am worthy, period; even without you.

Titles for the Chapbook (inspired by you)

1. I still love foxes.
2. The hands you loved.
3. In exchange for the lotion.
4. Candles, You, & and Other Lost Flames.
5. I might always love you
6. When You Weren’t Yelling
7. How to form “I’m sorry”
8. Mouthes Made of Bite
9. How I Learned “Stubborn” wasn’t necessarily a synonym for “Love”
10. Worth Fighting For