I can’t stop writing about you
because it’s the only way I know how
to come to terms with
None of this feels real
and you don’t really feel gone –
it’s a cliché that happens in novels and on sitcoms
but young men don’t die
in the real world
or at least they never used to,
not to me.
It wasn’t real
when the news shook my core
and broke the ground I used to walk on;
it wasn’t real
when people told me they were sorry for my loss
because I didn’t feel like I had lost you yet;
it wasn’t real
when I said goodbye to your ashes
and I kept reminding myself it wasn’t you;
it was real at 1 a.m.
when I screamed at you in my head,
when the anger broke over me
like a tidal wave
and I wanted to slap and hug you
and demand to know
why you did it
and how you could have been so
Anger is understandable
they tell me
but they don’t mention the guilt.
– the five stages of grief
They say you took something
and I’d like to believe it was the hand of God;
and even though you were atheist
you took it all the same.
I wonder if the pills you took left a bitterness on your tongue,
the way saying your name
paired with past tenses leaves
a numbness on mine.
I don’t even know if it was pills,
I was given two letters:
and was forced to string an alphabet of conclusions around them
that started with a party
and ended with a funeral.
As if you could describe the way you laughed
with three syllables,
one word –
as if anyone could understand
how alive you were
when your death
is what they will remember you for.
– what did you take
Give yourself time
for the garden you planted together to grow back.
Allow yourself tears
and try not to drown in their meaning or cause.
Let yourself heal
because it’s the only thing you know how to do.
Force yourself to keep going;
it’s what he would have wanted.
It always seems like we never say the things we need to say
to the people who need to hear it
before it’s too late
and we only realize this bitterly in hindsight.
It’s hard to think
I’m worth so much more than this
when the patterns men develop around you
weave themselves contrarily.
After the first few boys
you start blaming yourself
for choosing weak men, unworthy men.
You vow to find a partner
equal to and worthy of
After the next several relationships
burn out in similar fashion,
you start blaming yourself for everything else.
You vow to find yourself
and spend years searching
for the ghost of a scared 14-year-old girl,
asking her what went wrong.
After you’ve been used as many times as I have
After you’ve heard every excuse
After you’ve stopped hoping for anything from anyone
After you’ve gutted memories from yourself you had forgot you even had
After tearing yourself apart on the thorns of men
you stop blaming yourself
and start building yourself.
You’re not like other girls
Translation: a compliment
masquerading as an insult
to my sisters.
I’m not looking for anything right now
the feel of my legs
long and smooth
but not enough
to make them
the only pair of legs you’ll
You’re really beautiful
Translation: you weren’t listening
when I told you last week
that I’d rather be called
so much more
than a person with favourable genetics.
I don’t want you getting attached
Translation: you will leave
and when you do
you would like to be able to tell your conscious
that you warned me,
not for my benefit,
but to make yourself feel better about leaving.
I don’t think we can be together, but you never know
Translation: you’re already
tasting her lips in lieu of mine
but you’re like everyone’s favourite
quarterback: you have got
to keep your options open.
You’re not who I thought you were
Translation: I am so much more
than you bargained for, and you
are terrified to stand in my shadow
as I take on the world