You are a brand, seared into my flesh;
a tattoo, the ink bleeding under my skin;
a pierced ear; a scar above my left eyebrow;
a hot breath at the back of my neck,
that I imagine I can feel,
even when I am sleeping.
You are the bruise I find on my leg,
and wonder how it got there.
You are the burn mark whose circumstances
I only vaguely remember.
You are that one pop album whose songs
I haven’t listened to in years,
but still know all the words to.
You are the root cause of a syndrome.
You are a palindrome–a memory that reads the same
back to front and front to back.
I promise myself to step back,
try my best to despise how you
twist my maddest edges and repeat,
“You are beautiful” so many times
I’m incapable of hearing those words,
in any other voice but yours. I am
scared of the inevitable scars
that air-mailing my heart
will leave. I know them well.
The old ones sometimes still smart when
we whisper secrets to each other
in the wee hours of the morning.
I marvel at how history truly repeats itself
if we refuse to learn from it.
I have learned.
My skin is covered in a mosaic
of brands and tattoos.
My heart needs no further piercings.
And if, sometimes, I lie awake and wonder
how the small of my back would feel
curved against the cage of your hips, or how your lips
would feel against my skin, as we lie there,
by morning, it all feels like a clumsy dream:
a memory familiar, but only half-remembered.
Not quite sure this is a finished poem. Poet Sarah Kay says that sometimes there are poems that write and rewrite and rewrite themselves until you are through with them. This may be one of those.
Should I post each draft separately? Or keep updating this poem as the revisions happen? What do you guys think?