In what ways can I pull
My body so it feels like me?
What does it feel like
And breathe something that’s you?
I keep thinking that some day
I’ll look in the mirror
And they’ll smile back
A seeing smile
A connected smile
Between what’s in the head
And the heart
And the flesh
Not this tentative, unsure curl of the lips
An up curl, or a down? Or both?
Which category is mine
Is there such a thing that holds me?
I guess I should be flattered. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, they say.
Let me get the record straight though.
I was not around when you started dating him. It was well and truly over by the time you both started seeing each other. That is no word of a lie. I am not a character in your romantic fiction, so remove me from that story. It offends me that you’d use me as some sort of dramatic plot device.
I can see that you are a collector. But you are collecting things that are not yours and things that were not easily won.
I’m not an owner of these people, places or vocations, but it disturbs me greatly that you’re cultivating the very elements that make me, me.
I’ve encouraged you to write about your sexual assault, your mental health struggles, your bisexuality, your work and writing. I’m not a gatekeeper – it just feels convenient that these come to light a day or two after I’ve shared my own.
If you’re looking for a path travelled and cleared; one that works and ends in success, this aint it.
What are those? he asked, tracing the purple streaks on my hips.
Stretch marks, I said, a blush filling my cheeks.
He sensed my shame and he kissed those streaks and said he loved them, just like he loved the rest of my body.
It wasn’t contrived like you’d expect. It was exactly what I needed; what I thought I’d asked for from him but never received.
I was grateful he’d never answered Polo when I’d called Marco in the past. He instead gave what he wanted to give in that moment.
That made it all the more real and precious.
It could have been the wind, that possessed your hair. It could have been the sun, that coloured your cheeks. It could have been the sand that made your toes curl.
But I like to think it was me that affected you.
When you’re scared you run away
When I’m scared I clarify
Imagine what we’d be
if we weren’t scared
I am no-one’s secret, lover
I am a prize, just as you are
As I hope I showed you
I don’t only exist in the dark
when you need an ear, a cuddle, or to come.
I’ve needs and thoughts and I hoped you cared
enough to see them in the light, too
I just wanted you to hold my hand in the street
where people would see us
because I am no-one’s secret lover
I am the in between one
a bridge between two others
I will gather all your pieces
when you thought them lost
painstakingly discover them
through long conversations
filled with hair stroking
kissed fingertips, tears
and all of my labour
and once I find all the parts
I’ll glue you back together
Make you see how perfect you are
how perfect you were already
perfect enough for you to thank me
and to float on to the next
and for me, tomorrow
there’ll be another almost-whole
to discover, collect and embrace
but what about my pieces?
He’s a tall man. A full two heads closer to the sky than she is. She turns her head when they hug or else she’d suffocate on his sternum. He makes her belly ache with laughter and with butterflies. Often at the same time.
When he holds her she feels like a tiny gift. He tells her she’s small when he holds her feet in his hands or when she wraps her arm around his waist. It’s endearing in a way she’s not felt for a long time.
What a precious thing – to be precious – she thinks. What a skill to make someone else feel that way.
Can only small people be made to feel precious? Or does she have a chance to affect him in the same way? There’s all the time in the world to try.
With tears in his eyes, he angrily told me I didn’t understand him. I could tell he was pushing for me to challenge; to prove him wrong. I knew he wanted desperately to be heard, to not feel alone. I wanted so badly to be the one to give him that.
I wondered, then, as I looked at the furrowed brow that had always been so soft and loving before now, whether he was saying this to me or his ex girlfriend.
I agreed that I didn’t understand. I wouldn’t dare argue with his truth. All the same my heart broke; I didn’t understand him even though I tried more than he realised. I tried as hard as I could. But trying isn’t enough.
The city was an actual nightmare this morning. Thousands of people, swarming into all of the empty space, searching for Boxing Day sales and somewhere to sit. I braved the sun, wearing an open back dress that I’d never worn before. Behind me I overheard “I’m glad I don’t look like that” and of course I assumed they were talking about me. I wanted to turn around and ask them what they said, dare them to say it again, ask them if they were referring to the back I had uncovered, but I didn’t. Because that would be crazy. It was 25 degrees by 11am but I put a cardigan on. That’s less crazy, right?