I only know how to love in private.
Every single one of my palm lines is proof- they’re just as tangled and misleading
as the state of my heartstrings.
I’m the only one at weddings who’s too afraid to catch the bouquet
or be showered with salt tossed over the bride’s shoulder;
I’d rather declare my love in secret beneath lanterns or in shadow caves,
I’d rather be like those birds that hide their broken wings with faulty flying
instead of letting the pack know they can’t commit to high-stakes diving.
And there are people who spend their entire lives on crutches
after limping around with a bruised knee for years on end;
they’re too scared to let go of the one thing
that allowed them to break and then mend.
But I don’t want to be healed, I just want to learn
how to not leave.
Abandoning beds already half-filled with sleeping men
is the only way I was taught to stop limping and stand up straight,
yet the only standing I ever do
involves one night and no call backs.
I can love like a storm, like a black eye weeks from fading, a splinter miles
underneath tender skin, but when it comes time to count years together
instead of condoms or takeout cartons,
I uproot myself and learn to grow somewhere else
until it’s time to move again.