License Plates Still Make Me Think Of You

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The person you want the most
will be the one you never get,
the one who runs off with your imagination.
playing hide-and-seek with possibility
and it will drive you to the ends,
to late night text messages
to messages in bottles
of wine
and other numbing agents,
asking why
asking why it can’t just be simple
why they don’t just want you
asking
“am I pathetic?
am I wrong?
is there something wrong with me in loving you
in wanting you
in choosing you?
Because it feels like lava and I’m texting you and I know this isn’t right.
But you touch my heart with bittersweet fingertips
and I want it always.”

Darling,
I am a diary entry I pass around to the entire school.
I don’t understand confidentiality when everything inside wants to be yours.
Regina tries to pass me off
as a Burn Book
but baby,
I only burn for you and I’m sorry I should know better.
I should know how to shut my lips and tuck things away for later.
But I don’t.
I want to be the one in the front row clapping,
I will be the honeysuckle
and you can be the bee.
I’m okay with giving you my pieces,
My nectar.
I am a canyon waiting for you to jump
and I will wait at the bottom
with open arms
and a net to catch.
I know insanity is doing the same thing over
and over
and expecting a different result
so maybe kissing you is my undoing,
but I love you.
And I know,
They paint me like I am a weakness
for bending this way,
They paint me like I am just a fool
for telling you I want to love you until the sun explodes
and splinters into golden flecks.
like the ones I see in your eyes.
They paint me like I am a little girl
who hasn’t learned how to stop talking.
and maybe I haven’t.

Maybe I’m your favorite bedtime story you don’t admit to in the morning.
Maybe I’m the gift card
and you were expecting something else.
Maybe I’m the one your mom loves
because I am your best friend
and not one you push against headboards.
On our first date,
we talk about license plates
you ask me
“Which one is the Show Me State?”
And I blank.

And now Missouri makes my head spin.
Baby,
Show Me State.
Everything shows me you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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