I tell him, if you love me, you need to stop reading the poems.
I tell him, if you read them, you will find a version of me you hate.
I tell him, if you want a future with me, you will stop reading the poems.
Because the girl in the poems is kerosene dreams
and ink stained scars and whiskey flavoured fury,
and the girl he is in love with is cotton candy soft
and summer dresses and vodka laughter.
I tell him, he can’t have both because he doesn’t want both,
no one wants a girl whose lungs are smoke black rage
even if her heart is made of tissue silk.
Girls who are both, are too volatile, too painful to love.
So I keep her, the ink stained, angry girl
inside a prison of paper and pen.
I feed her memory,
I feed her sadness,
so I can keep the girl he loves alive.
There is witchcraft here,
a kind of witchcraft
every hunted woman practices
when she finds love.
She magicks parts of herself away
to protect the one she loves.
This is why they say
that love is the end of woman,
the way war is the death of man.
So I tell him, please,
if you love me as I am,
stop reading the poems.
And he says, his voice gentle,
his voice wine rich smooth,
I will not. Because I refuse to love you,
unless you let me love you whole,
all the broken things inside you that make you so soft.