I filled my gas tank to 33 dollars and 33 cents
and told you it was for you
because it was your favorite number.
I organized our belongings
baby, this is where we keep our sweaters)
as if using the word “our” would embed myself
into what you call home.
I bought flowers from a homeless man
because you are a botany major.
I wanted to bring them to you,
wilting and loveless, and show you how
I can nurture something worth saving.
There is a five-finger scar above my breast.
There is an orchestra on my neck shaped like your pulse
from all the nights you held me the way
you only hold something slipping.
There are 6 states
pressed like stubborn flowers
between the last time I kissed you and today,
but you still feel like a sound caught in my throat.
What to do when you are afraid -
Press your feet against the earth.
Feel safe in the certainty
that it will never fail you.
You are part of this world.
Fill your lungs with air.
Oxygen is corrosive and toxic,
and you found a way to use it.
Nothing could defeat you.
Consider the forest.
Trees ask no one for earth or air,
they know they are entitled to it.
You have the right to exist.
Find your confidence.
The world will not take from you,
more than you are able to give.
You have nothing to fear.
All that remains is to
take the first step,
and then another.
The world itself is with you.
—you are not stardust, you are human.
A poem in which I don’t compare
you to anything.
In which you are not an
elevator that I got stuck on,
or a train that never left,
but no more than a person.
No less than a person.
Today, you are not a mistake
or a rip in my tights or a lesson.
Today, I take myself home and undo,
I take myself home and
write a poem about my skin
for the third time in a row and
then wash myself in it until
I’m clean and new.
A poem for the first full month
that didn’t hear the ache
of your name,
and for every month after.
A poem in which I am singular.
A poem in which I am more than
the people who never wanted me,
and I know this.
No one goes quietly into death.
It is not like your mother’s arms
wrapping around you.
It is not like falling asleep.
Your body is made of muscle,
blood, instinct, heat,
and ten thousand fire exists,
ten thousand attempts to cheat death.
When blood is filling your shower,
when there is vomit on your chin,
sweat on your skin, tears on your face,
you will not welcome death then.
Your body will fight you,
the whole world will fight you,
and the best thing you can do
is to fight alongside them.