In joy

What 
is joy
compared to
a lasting
ache

In joy
I lack the
preoccupation
the restless attachment
the wondering if
my feelings are matched
or returned at all

In joy
all I have
is the way
you leaned in to kiss me

The memory of standing
in the stairwell
you held my gaze
you held me
to share you’re not
dating anyone else

All I have
are the hands
that didn’t let go of mine
from that first kiss
in the middle of your kitchen

I’m not sure how to write
in joy

But I can try.

Slut

I fly below the equator
a boy kisses me
while we dance.

We go back together
sleep in separate beds.
I do not let him in.

He starts the new day
telling his friends
that he’s had me
in ways he has not.

My heart bleeds
for the times
and the moments
I knelt in shame.
Begging the universe
to take from me
the impossible
polarity
of being a woman
in a world
where I must be

Sexual
but conservative.

Beautiful
but subtle.

Audible
but silent.

Desirable
but chaste.

He slapped my ass,
called me a good kisser.

My lips burned.

Not with lust,
but intuition
that he would cause harm. 


And he did. 



Light

He witnessed 
what I had to offer,
it wasn't his to receive.

I still wonder
as I make room for the night
what it could be like
if he shared his own with me.

Ghosts

I won’t convince you either way.
You decided this
before you met me.

I picture
the ghosts
that may reside in your heart,
ones you haven’t made peace with.

I hope you find enough ground
to feel safe letting another in.
It seems that
in keeping people at a distance
they leave in the end.

A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perhaps you said those things
to be kind.
Or maybe they were your truth.
At any rate,
I wish your
heart
had room for me.

I’m no exorcist.
My light
shines too bright sometimes
in dark corners.
I can’t dim it.
Not even for you.

After I left your place,
I went to the water.
I’m not ready to
walk with this,
knowing our brief
encounters are over.

I sit in the heaviness of it,
equally as freeing for me,
as I know we negotiated
the best we could.

At the water I release
ghosts of my own.
I see them for what they are.

Some hope goes with them.
I see you with clear eyes.
Kind and gentle.
Perhaps lost in your own head.
Unsure, tempted and fearful.

I can’t pull out of you
words I’d like to hear.
I can’t hope you’ll become
something you are not.

Despite the release,
I'd like to believe
you won’t become
yet another ghost
my words try their best
to understand.