the first five times

i. The first time you meet love, he is clenched fists.
He is all push and force.
He is grab and tug, but never pull closer.
Never hold. Never touch.
He is two years older and drives his father’s truck and calls you “Baby.”
He is lips that will never kiss you, but when you touch your waist at the end of the night, you feel him there.

His eyes are dark waters and you are afraid to swim.
You are afraid to swim and he loves to dip you into the ocean to see how much you’ll try for him. Oh, you’ll try for him and he’ll leave you standing neck deep in cold water.
You walk yourself home and flood your bedsheets with saltwater, and you wake up the next morning and decide that you don’t want to drown anymore.

ii. He is soft and silent and he loves you this way.
He loves you quietly, like roses with all his thorns cut off for you.
He looks at you like he does not ache to touch you, but he aches to learn you.
You have never met a rawness like this until you see it in his eyes.

You never love him but you want to.
You want to, but he is oceans apart and you are hurricanes that are too strong and he cannot stand tall beside you.  He is broken frames and cannot put himself together.
You want to mend his heart, but you are not good at fixing broken things.

iii. He is the boy who doesn’t introduce you to his mother.
The boy who kisses you at a party and forgets your name.
You are his six o’ clock cigarette break and he is secondhand smoke that loves to make its way into your lungs.
He is winter in his coldest form and and loves to keep his hands warm by touching.

You are never sure if you love him or love the way he seems to want you; with pleading eyes, but lips that never dare to give that away.
You are never really sure if you love him, even after he leaves and forgets what you taste like.

iv.  Love is uncharted territory and you want to get lost in him.
He is lost doe eyes and hands that want to hold onto anything to find home.
You are his muse, but never anything more.
Your mother tells you to be careful with your heart, but you spill it all over his palms and he paints you into art.  He touches you and paints you red.  He paints you wanting for more.
He has a mouth that wants to swallow you whole and you are willing.
You are willing because you love him the way a poet loves his words.
You love him in the most innocent sense of the word, but he wants someone whose kisses will cut into his lips and leave him with the aftertaste of blood.
He wants someone who breaks him, because that’s all he’s ever known.
He is wandering ghosts, making homes out of human beings, and he leaves you haunted.

You will fall in love with his words and secret heart.  You will fall in love with his flaws and broken pieces.  You will turn his jokes into songs that you sing to him at 2.00 am and love his mishaps more than he will ever understand, and he will learn all of this months after you’re already gone.

Listen to me, my dear.
You are not the people who cannot love you.
You are not the people who left you after the hours you spent digging up your soul and laid it into their palms, because you were mistaken when you thought that everyone was gentle hands and soft clutches and kind hearts.
You are not the faulty pieces you discover lying under your skin while trying to put yourself back together.

You were all teeth until they turned you docile.
when they turned you into bleeding gums and apologies.
Knock on your bones and feel your entire body shake with the aftermath, because you are walking earthquakes and their words cannot tame you.
Open your lips wide when you smile and show them how you have swallowed the sun.
You have swallowed the sun and they cannot touch you without burning.

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write
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