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declaring war

I start by writing lists

of all the boys I wanted to love

who turned out to be so terrible at it

I take each one and I write their names

over and over again

like turning candy over and over with my tongue

I like the taste of it, even when I bite my own lip

blood is sweet.


I take those names and I curl them in my fist

until my nails leave moon-shaped scars

in my skin, come closer

I'll let you in.

Let me build the fire first

and let me remember

all those beautiful

savage times

that they took hold of my hips

and danced and pushed and promised,

but left my heart behind.


I lick the ashes off my fingers

one my one

so I can taste how bitter life can be,

I remove the knife buried in my chest

I leave that space for newness, for someone,

and I use that blade to carve a path through the destruction,

and I make an oath to fight these battles

even if I know

not any of us

have won.


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