what­ev­er doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
they say.
I don’t feel strong.
if I were the best ver­sion of myself
I’d be grate­ful for you
your mem­o­ries arc­ing dark­ly, coldly
between these pieces I gath­er and fumble
and arrange in ugly patterns.

but what would I give up
to be hopeful?
to be open?
to be whole?

the fre­net­ic dance parties
in your liv­ing room
into a heav­ing pile on the floor.

the late nights of
pon­tif­i­ca­tions and gui­tar solos
weav­ing in between wafts of smoke
pry­ing myself wide-open

play­ing pinball
at the bus station
soft­ly ripe
my fin­gers dig­ging playfully
under the gap in your pants.

cack­ling at your dark jokes
gasp­ing at your bloody stories
glee­ful­ly, vapidly
play­ing “boy’s games”
just to be near you.

some­times I get it.
the things you give up
the bits that burn, die, and fall off.
you evolve into some­thing else.
niether bet­ter nor worse.
just wiser.

but what would I give to have her back?
to unbite that apple?
to gleam with possibility?
to believe in the pos­si­bil­i­ty of others?
I might pry those moments out
throw them into the abyss.
I might be willing
to nev­er have met you at all.