Keep Pretending

You have never laid a finger on me
but your grip holds
tight around my neck
and I have been gasping for air
since you first showed me
your temper erupting from
your palms landing on the
one you promised to care for

You proved to be a
volcano spreading your lava over
birthday parties and graduations

A tsunami ruining beach days and
washing away sand castles and smiles

You have never laid a finger on me,
but your grip left
bruises on my young mind
and you spent twenty-two years
pretending they weren't there

You are everything
I don't want in
a partner,
a friend,
or myself
and I will scrub your essence
out of my soul, mind, and body
until the only thing
linking us is our
last name

Blistered Hands

my blistered hands
have forgotten what it felt like to
reach for something that isn't
running in the opposite direction

forgive me if i doubt your love
for i have never held something
that didn't slip through my fingers
whenever i looked away

every time i wake with
a kiss on my cheek and
my heart safely in your hands

you are giving me
a break from
reaching because
you are
always
right here

i can’t save you, but i can love you (and that’s kind of the same thing, right?)

i can’t make those fires go away and they are still going to burn like hell.

i can’t stop the water from flooding your basements traveling up the stairs to your bedroom and wrecking old photographs

i can’t hide your heart from anyone without gentle hands and good intentions

i can’t save you from the thorns as you walk through rose bushes and I can’t promise my love won’t leave similar cuts

i can’t take away the hurt life has been throwing at us since we took our very first breaths

but,

i can let you see the softness behind my sharp edges and carry bandaids and peroxide to care for the cuts I will inevitably cause

i can hold your hand through the heat of the fires and have ice water ready when the burns get too painful to handle on your own

i can clean up the mess the flood leaves behind and take tons of new pictures to fill the destroyed photo albums 

i can hold your heart long enough for it to recover from the fights it had to endure

i can wait on the other side of the bushes and remind you that the smells of the roses were worth it
i can’t stop the hurt or prevent the pain

but,

i can promise to have my first aid kit in my backpack for whenever you need it