You keep asking me what's wrong. Honestly, honey, it's not that I don't know. I just don't know how to tell you: sometimes I can feel you grating against my bones like a second skeleton—you inflate me till I'm spilling out of my skin. And sometimes you're spider legs racing down my spine, some phantom shiver that might've been the wind.
I don't know what to tell you. I can't wait to hear your voice. I hate listening to you trying so hard to love me. I'm unlovable. I'm all thorns with no rose. I keep trying to tell you that.
You don't listen. Or you listen too well. I never could tell. Do you hoard my words in the closet corners of your soul or do you watch them settle on the hairs on your arms and pop like soap bubbles against your skin? I want to know what you're feeling every second of every day and I'm terrified that what you're feeling will burn me.
Is this enough for you? Is love just almond oil on wet skin and promises that die at 11:11? Is 10 o'clock our witching midnight hour? Do all our dreams turn to pumpkin shells when the clock strikes goodbye?
How do you love me? Do you wake up at 3 am and wonder why your tongue tastes like my name? Do you ride the crests and dips of my voice and trace the texture of my emotions with your fingertips? Do you hear me arch my back ever so slightly when you say my name? If love is just I love you, then I've loved and loved and loved my life away.
Sometimes I can feel you try to love me simply. I fell in love with the peace around your body. I fell in love with the air around your skin. I am the hurricane to your peace, the storm centered around your stillness. Did you think you could love me gently, like the rain? I will tear through countries to match your calm.
My love is ugly. It won't lend itself to caress, won't lay purring in your lap while you pet it. My father told me he loved me best from afar. My mother tried instead to smother me.
Michael told me my hair was unmanageable. You complain there's hair everywhere. I have hair that requires the use of both hands. That braids into both the hangman's rope and compliance. I have hair that will never let me trust a man who cannot tame it.
Did you think you could be my knight in shining armor? I was never the damsel in distress. I have whiplash in my bones and callouses on my heels. Do you pride yourself on being a warrior? My darling, I am the war.
You will never own me. I say “yessir” and we both laugh because we know. I will not come for you. I will come to you. Call me, beg me, coax me gently with your tongue. Lose control because you'll never possess the woman you've sworn your life to. Hate yourself for being too weak to force me. Fear that I know your weakness. Love that I cherish you all the same.
You will never convince me that I'm your princess. But dear god wouldn't I hate it if you didn't try.