acoustic songs are better

your annotations were never straight lines

and I only learn things the hard way, it seems

you could have said “I told you so”

and I would have laughed, agreeing

you predicted it, didn’t you?

I gave my whole heart, and he experimented

how many different ways he could make it bleed

severing arteries & veins from chambers, 

snapping elastic in valves, giving me back flow 

clipping heart strings just to floss his teeth

.

flash forward, it’s December 2020

the water is crystal this morning

labyrinth lungs are clear today

and when the condensation falls

it collects like starlight on the water’s surface

sometimes, Johnson loses Johnson, his kinsman

behavior a frantic flight against the glass, chasing reflections

until they find each other again, swimming in unison

as if the separation never happened 

you and I are like that too

our souls made of the same stuff, transcending physicality

and the colors didn’t look right when we were apart

the colors haven’t looked right in two summers, then

but I get it now, why you never take the highway

there are so many more possibilities, driving the back roads

and here we are, loss and devastation 

each laugh, each smile a battle won

here we are stitching ourselves together again

.

the last time I saw me, I was nineteen

plunging lawn chairs into lake water

watching the afternoon sky in quiet camaraderie 

the last time I saw me, I was nineteen

and I was yours & mine, twin souls whole for the first time

that’s what I used to think, think before this October

now I’m twenty-one, leaving letters in your mailbox again

and everyone says, ever since I left him, I wear my skin right

I’m not so pale, personality suppressed by the bags under my eyes

they say I am myself again, vibrant, alive, and I have to agree

hope isn’t holding your breath for a year, waiting

accepting bruised kisses and glares like shivs in the meantime

dreaming that one day, things will get better

hope is enjoying the lilies on the windowsill

watching them die and knowing, 

even if they don’t bloom next year,

how lovely, to have witnessed such beauty

how lovely, to have known their story

it will take some adapting, you said over and over again

and I think that’s why this year isn’t so bad

it’s not a still life, a photograph, a freeze frame

it’s kinetic energy, dynamic, constantly changing

.

that afternoon at Murphy’s Point, sun filtered through pines

sitting at a picnic table, you predicted the outcome

and maybe that drowned woman they found in the water, 

a month later, should have been indicative enough

but your annotations were never straight lines

and I only learn things the hard way, it seems

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