The Art of Making Pain Look Beautiful

Somewhere between
polaroid snapshots
and wistful beginnings
I met a girl;
it always seems
to start that way.
In the wet May days
that stretched before us
like wishbone promises
made for lazy teenagers,
I saw her once,
was completely silenced,
like the ocean
before a thunderstorm
tears apart all
traces of serenity.
My telescope eyes
made out her features
and I coloured in her outlines
with flower petal
softness, with candy-coated
sweetness.
She would always be
my masterpiece.
I drew her closer, so entranced,
I traced the outline of her jaw
with my fingers,
my lips,
my heart,
and I taught her tongue
to forget other names.
I drew her closer still
and I was able to see
the grey areas I had coloured in
with hope and imagination,
could see she was not
the masterpiece I had painted,
but a masterpiece on her own.
I fell in love with
the lost strands of hair on her face,
the lopsided curve of her smile,
the scars that kissed her wrists like tally marks
and the way her eyes let me know
she didn’t care for empty words.
I learned her favourite month
was December
and that she had never
worn a watch,
I learned she had been in love
once,
that it had nearly destroyed her.
I learned that her love
for thunderstorms
was because she was glad
that even the air
built up too much pressure
sometimes:
even nature has to explode in tears.
She walked like a rain cloud
and sang like it was
always Sunday,
and I couldn’t help myself
from drowning
in a world of could-be’s
and lullabies whispered
on whiskey breath.
She gave me a month of tomorrows
and a year of wishes
but when her favourite month rolled around
and they found the beam in her basement
that was just tall enough
to support the life
and end the life
of the girl
I painted a picture of in my head,
I wondered if I had ever gotten
close enough.
Somewhere between
polaroid snapshots
and wistful beginnings
I met a girl
and she met me,
and I wonder now
why that wasn’t enough for her.

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