It’s a decision, fractured
a time limit
a constricting vein in the head
it’s a bad feeling that spreads
through your stomach and up up up
it’s an angry mother
a wounded friend
a fleeting lover
an icy pen
it’s a moment turned red
a hunting ground for regret.
not for me
but for you
just in case
for I never know what state your future is in
you care for it so much and yet you risk it relentlessly
travelling through different layers of the Earth
boiling yourself alive
staring down foxes in the night
moving up and down mountainsides
take care of yourself, please
but maybe even for me;
my future looks a little like you
and I am not so willing to risk that.
I could sleep and wake up
and you might be here
I could sleep and wake up
and you may not
either way the sleep will be hopeful
I’ll hug myself like a girl
and touch the sign on my wrist
and try not to wait for the bed springs to quake.
Today, Amman had a pulse
and I was an electric sparkle
in her pretty green vein.
It came to me again:
I used my arm and pretended it was you
we can’t collide
not even in a dream
but call me ‘mine’
cause I think that’s what I am —
I think I’ve been it for a while.
Maybe it’s me
who drags my own sobbing body
who strings it up on that far-fetched branch
who watches from the foot of the tree
as I choke on that morning’s epiphany
Finger-paint the word across my own torso
‘Don’t talk to yourself that way,’ she says
‘It makes me so angry to hear you talk to yourself that way.’
But I still say it to myself in secret:
and you’ll never make it out of your head alive.’
You’re lovely, sweet rabbit
but so am I
and we need to be equals;
those are your words, dear rabbit
So I’ll take your time
if you care to give it
but I won’t chase you, my rabbit
not through field
not through forest
not through thicket.
I could mother her
teach every fear in my head to pronounce her name
take the dog’s dripping jaws in my side
a too small jacket, but she wanted mine
I smooth her hair back
follow the shape of her cheeks
it’s our turn in line:
“Hayati, what do you want?”
she looks up, his eyes
and it’s hers.
I loved like a little girl
too fast and too hard
crush my head beneath his chin
but he’s not a boy
and you can’t love him like he’s a boy
you can’t love him as a girl
you must love him as a woman
and a woman waits
she moves in maybes
she does not come before she is invited
she does not stay passed his liking
she does not cradle
she isn’t violent
she does not say it —
not even if it’s true.
How many hours
does it take for you to miss me?
Do you have to slap your hand away, too?
Do you have to reprimand yourself like a child
suck on your knuckles to stop from reaching over and —
Do you have to gather your wits at night
to remember that I do
or almost do
that I could, pretty soon?
You’ll miss me, Pretty Soon
you’ll have to
you’ll have to.