what the wave said

i.

here’s a child who’s told
the water slide shut down,
and whimsy, fleeting, waves
it all off, “it’s ok, next time”
and looking back, this is not
a skilled patience, tamed early,
it was early hopelessness,
developing early, planting home
into brightness; in later years
her mother cries in the backyard,
swallowed up by uncut grass
and tree barks graved with bullets,
and a husband with a booming heart,
so that child sits in wait for years,
prepares wisely, is told of an old soul,
and she grows taller and then
simply stops growing, there is
such a thing, as knowing too much,
and calling that a cursed soul instead.
mama tells her to listen carefully,
it had just rained, it’s fresh, it’s life,
it changes the colors of the trees,
it washes you ashore and tells you
to start over again, a second chance.
a divorce from that first, third life
altogether, and the teenager is no
less a fool, says, “it’s ok, i saw it
coming from miles away, i heard
thunder in the living room for days,
and thought the world shifted feet.”
the girl is nothing if, wise too soon.

ii.

there are no more familiar trees,
no more backyards, swingsets,
but there are boys and cars and drinking,
her first kiss leads to a blowjob
in a backseat, it’s different,
not everything is what she likes,
it hurts and she wants it,
starving because touch was
suddenly nothing like she ever
thought it could be, human,
and faulty and surprising.
the trees looked good in
hot daylight, it’s an afternoon,
older, but no, not enough then,
pressed into the mattress by
some teenage boy she met
through a friend, at a barn,
it was night, and she for
once, got to learn a tree bark,
it was a way to be something
wild, to let go and feel nothing
but pleasure when it rushed through,
and the sheets are white and
clean and her clothes are off,
he’s standing up, promises return
and never does. it angers her for
endless hours, but doesn’t surprise her.

(her sister had just gotten out
of a lightning relationship, full of
violent strikes, but survives stronger,
searches for zen with her old dog; 

her mother was lovesick, talking
to a man she had never met
who lived in a faraway country;
all the while, she’s screaming,
her head all shaken, confused,
all the while, she’s screaming
to herself, a witness alone,
her head all shaken, confused,
‘this is not love! this cannot be love!’)

iii.

there’s a boy and a girl under
her blood in a fast time, making
dents in her life, she starts to
believe in love, she’s older,
the first she dates for a week
before he ends it, she’s older,
keeps repeating it, but still
feels the first sting of heart-
break, and feels like a fool,
she fools around, this comes
naturally, bodies are human,
but she misses his kiss, a taste,
and wonders at memories,
always fucking wanders alone.
he becomes a friend she
is always honest with, and
continues to feel the scars
regardless. she met the girl
before she met him, this was
already in the movie, you’ve
heard it before. they kissed
each others necks drunkenly
under a shining october moon,
and then never did anything
about it, but became the best
of friends. it was not a love
story, it was a missed chance,
it was too late, many moments
unspoken, the girl was a
careful afterthought, sirens
singing. many times, she had
wanted and did nothing,
it was routine, better,
an afterthought; she fell
in love a little over a year
and then some, told
breathlessly feeling her
heart shake, and they talked
for hours, small confessions
from time, but no, that really should
have been the first clue,
the first kiss in the bed,
they had been cuddling,
too scared, and fool fool fools
that kissed everywhere
senseless, and this, she
thought, was more human
than before, bigger somehow,
making everything flutter.

she tells her mama over
the phone with a blush,
and there’s something in
the tone of it, like this coat
won’t keep her warm enough
and the winter won’t make it
to spring, but she ignores it,
because seasons come and
go, they always have, it is to
be expected, there’s never a
word about it said, but the
child was a wise one.

to be fair, she thought she’d
have more time. it ended
only after paired months,
with visits less and less
frequent in between time,
it was a fool’s agony,
to realize, who was really
the afterthought all along.
but she lets it stretch, it’s
a shame, they let it run for
so long, pretending so much,
it’s a root she has to rip out
with her bare hands, digs in
dirt and pulls, kills it herself,
walks away with tears, and
tries to wonder how to let go.

iv.

here’s a young woman,
enjoying her silence with practice,
her mom is still a mess of cards
and they talk less and less, but
she is somehow less broken,
healing strangely, letting the
occasional sunlight shine through as
her loneliness swims in pool water,
and sometimes she burns and burns.
and sometimes, she falls asleep
in a cage, her body untouched for a
patient while, thinking, “next time,
next time, hands will come to hold
my hips like a lifeline, dip into the ocean
of my back, trace the same crevices
another lover may have, fascinated.
next time, i will not leave first, i will
ask someone if i can stay, and steal
away some secret i get from the constant
attempts.”

“they ask me why i create a forest
inside of my heart, after so long,
why i still let the roots cover it all up,
why i protect it from lightning, thunder,
the tornado from crashing surface,
shattering the flow of something real,
love a wave never-ending, that there’s
patience of the seawater, blue as itself,
and there’s hopelessness, lost in trees.

this is the truth:
i am not waiting for love.
i’m waiting until it kills me.”

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