A week ago we had sex with the lights off, and afterwards I rolled away as quickly as I could, and choked back a fistful of tears when you touched my arm; and maybe sometimes I speak in guilty tones and tearful dialects, and I talk of my lungs and the deep breaths they’re trying to take. I am a sinking ship in your bed, and I wonder if there will come a night, when you decide to jump ship and save yourself. But the sun is rising, I have stayed up all night trying to work my love and apologies into the same poem, and this is it.

This is for all the people who love people like me:

I’m sorry for my bones full of doubt, and my heart full of hurricanes; I’m sorry for the mess I make of your bed and of your head. I know there are nights when I’m only half full; when my body is there but the rest of me is elsewhere; there are nights when I’m hiding between my own hands.

I have never been to Ohio, but I know that the Cuyahoga River flows both north and south, I know it’s caught fire 19 times. I know that in my dreams, I am the Cuyahoga; I am crooked and on fire, I can barely keep up with myself.

I am wrapped in thorns, but I can smell the flowers blooming.

Thank you for your patience; for understanding that some days I will form knots out of loose ends, that some nights I will untie all those knots. Thank you for your soft hands; thank you for reaching across the bed when I roll away. Thank you not letting me fall asleep alone, even if it’s just your voice on the phone.

It is 5 in the morning, and I hope you know that despite the nights I am sewing myself shut, I love you. I am watching the day start, and you are asleep and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to make loving people like me easier for people like you. But I can hear your voice in my ear; you wouldn’t change a thing.

And lover, hold onto this metaphor: have you ever stayed up all night, stayed up until you can see the sun peek over the moon, you can watch the stars bow out, and say their goodbyes? That is where you’ll find my love. This thunder in my chest booms for you; the melody in my laugh falls into rhythm with your heartbeat; your voice the crescendo to my day; and your inhaling and exhaling lungs play my favorite lullabies.

Hold onto this metaphor: I am a river, and all my currents lead to you, no matter which way they flow.
blessed be those who love the broken. (jl)