things we leave behind

by emery rose

this child you claim to love who gazes upon you with stars in her eyes and birds in her heart how will you tell her that she and her mothers deserve less than other families the ones who live smiling in unpurchased picture frames that their good health that their safety that the roofs that shield them from blistering cold and sweltering heat that these are only privileges that these are all subject to the uncertain tides of men the men who control these things the men who gaze upon her who gaze upon her mothers and declare their appearance their shape and their voices undesirable unfit undeserving of love how will you look back into her eyes which reflect the sky she sees in you into her heart which beats to the sound of your drum and tell her that you casted your vote against their humanity that you casted your vote against hers

with old fingers locked and new hearts intertwined from the wall we tear down the last page replacing it anew over and over with different ways to love and be loved

my heart is a dandelion delicate and easily scattered but someday with enough wind to travel upon it may reach a place better than it was before

i write my own nightmares play them back rewind adjust play again test every path of dialogue rehearse every line while i anxiously await a premiere that will never come

for every word you said and every word you didn't

you broke off a piece of my heart and locked it up inside a jewelry box to be worn when it was suitable for you forcing me to steal or accept as charity fragments of those i love so that i can be whole enough to keep going

in those breathless moments my heart thumps in my stomach a wave of chills crawl slowly across my skin and there is not enough air in all the world to satisfy my thirsty lungs i desperately want to move but i cannot budge i am back in that quiet house with his hands around my neck pulling me forward pushing me back shaking me like a magic eight ball over and over until i give him the answer he wants to hear

like an unwilling chameleon i am continuously defined and redefined by the uncertain whims of every possible predisposition until exhaustion leads me into hiding and my colors turn black

my tired eyes are swollen and bloodshot from their relentless analysis of every inch of my skin tracking imperfections collecting evidence of past lives desperate to build a case against me

you held me like sand cupped in your palms until a careless breath scattered me

into the wind

left me to pick up the pieces without ever being taught the things we keep and the things we leave behind

through laughter we locked eyes in a lingering moment until your lips unwound me

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