“NO ONE WILL LOVE YOU LIKE I DO”
Well yes, they will, and harder. They will love you so hard you shimmer with it, the way tinsel catches light. Harsh & brilliant. They will love you in a way that your skin flushes and beams. No more the purple bruises he impinged on your knees, having to ask permission to leave in the morning. Terrified the answer would be no. In the soft awakening of dawn, your lover should be gazing at you like you are a miracle.
There are still things you are not used to. If someone is kind to you you immediately think there must be a catch. The first time your new lover touched you so gently; you recoiled like a tentative animal. Not because you didn’t want his hands on your body, but because you weren’t expecting such tenderness.
Yes, go and sing loud and out of tune. Yes, have your cake and eat it too. Say fuck you. Fuck you for the way you made me feel like a fish flapping wildly on the dock. For when I meet someone with the same name as you and I’m unable to look at them in the eye. I don’t want to make this poetic anymore. Fuck you for when I catch the subway through the town you live in and I break out in a cold sweat. Fuck you for making me believe feeling constantly nervous around someone was love. Now I know it’s nothing like that. Now I can have love like yes, please come back. Love that walks barefoot through empty forests, talks to the birds. Love like the heroism of horses. Love tender and soft - meat falling from the bone.
A SMALL REASSURANCE
after Ocean Vuong
Don’t worry. You can look upwards and there
will always be a night sky, dotted with piercing
stars so long as it isn’t foggy. Don’t be afraid.
Here’s the house you grew up in, with its blue
picket fence and honey suckle tree,
and here is your grandmother underneath the
front porch light, waving hello or goodbye.
It is a world where foxes sing their strange song & even the willow tree
misses the silent wind that once passed through its black leaves.
You can still hold a ladder against the pale
moon & make the sacrifice, cradle
all of your wounds and allow the starlight
to lick them clean. You can say her name
into lilies, into moonlight, and each time
it will sound different in your mouth
depending on where the light falls.
Don’t you see this bed, this book,
this bird, your body made
specifically to heal? Do not fear –
there will always be a poem,
another long drive home
and a hand to hold even if it’s your own.
It is brave to feel loneliness
and not shake in the face of it.
Slow down, hold your lover
gently – see? There is no urgency.
FIGHT AND FLIGHT
Yeah, clip the soft wings of
your ghosts, but in vain ‘cause
they aint going anywhere, will infiltrate
like a hit of nicotine, light a fire
in the pit of your belly
hot like lava & blood. Yeah, best to allow
your ghosts a place to sleep, give them a little shelter
tend to them,
maybe a lil honey &
lemon but never a feast, never a red apple -
the fruit or your heart.
Don’t evict them when they
come crawling through your window with pale lips
& porcelain skin,
just find a way not to shake when they sing
their strange song, know
they will never truly hurt you
because you are stronger than the
apocalypse, don’t you know you were made of
both glory and ache, of fight & flight?
Jess is a twenty year old musician and writer from Sydney, Australia. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Music Performance in clarinet at Sydney University. She wants to visit Iceland and plant a field of poppies in her backyard. She only wears odd socks. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Words Dance, Thistle Magazine, Germ Magazine, Letters from Bummer Press, Degenerates: Voices for Peace, and others.