For all the boys who asked me if I was writing about you, I was :)
It's four simple letters, two vowels, all strung together in a row like the popcorn I threaded together and strung on the tree every Christmas
L O V E
It sounds like it should be simple, like the pattern of consonant and vowel should run together smoothly, feeling like pebbles on the inside of my cheeks
If only if it was that easy
If only the letters strung together made sunshine instead of tsunami tides, gave me a place to write my name in the mountains of it all, tying myself to the cliff so that when I fall I won't crack my head open on the earth below
See, I've never been good at this thing they call love
Maybe it's because I have selfishness inside of my bones, forces of nature that line up to create the worst storm you've ever seen
Maybe it's because I come from the place where the wild things are, unprecedented with stars in my hair and ashes stuck to the bottom of my shoes
The first boy I ever loved I met when I was 14. He told me I was pretty, spent time with me in a kitchen that wasn't ours, sat on the counter and watched as I learned what it meant not to be afraid. The first boy I ever loved made me brave
The second boy I ever loved made me weak in the knees, gave me butterflies and reminded me that inside of me is parts of nature I often forget to see. When he left it was the worst motion sickness I've ever known
The third boy I ever loved was in love with someone else. He knit me together, using the backs of his hands as blueprints for how one is supposed to be, tying me together, trying to create perfection. Someone forgot to tell him that he wasn't God and you can't turn people into houses.
The fourth boy I ever loved showed me the power of hurricanes, the steel strength of pouring rain, he made me believe in magic. And a world that exists beyond my line of sight, that there is always something over the horizon, you just have to find it
Five. His eyes found me in a crowded room
Six. He talked to me like I hung the moon, like stars shot out of my fingertips every time I sat down to write and said when I spoke he could see the milky way
Seven I loved when I was lonely, on the nights when he refused to give up on me and let me slip into oblivion
Eight. Apparently I smiled whenever she said his name. He asked me what my political stance was like it was a pick up line. He pretended like he saw galaxies inside of my eyes
The ninth boy I loved, well I didn't love him. I dove into him like you dive into a swimming pool filled with water, trying to lose myself in him.
Love leaves me broken, having given everything inside of me, offering it out in cupped hands, having it never be enough. I am lying on the carpet, naked and trying to remember who I was before I loved you. I'm trying to remember what it was like when the names of boys weren't scribbled all over my diary, when I didn't write love poems for boys I'd only just met, when I was enough for myself
When I didn't feel the brokenness that comes with being alone, the morning after he leaves you, when it's just not working out or you've done it too many times and he's had enough, after screaming and name calling and crying into the dark, when the sound of the toaster makes you jump. I've written too many poems about what happens after you love someone, how the pain can linger for days, like a sword slicing it's way down your body, when you're using a sewing needle to try and suture your heart back in your chest
There's a reason I said I wasn't good at love and it wasn't because I thought I would be happier alone
It's because I'm tired of writing poems about the boys who break my heart, the ones who say my name like its magic and then hold it over me like it's the thing monsters are made of, don't say I didn't warn you.
When you say my name like it's the cure, please listen to me when I tell you it's not really.