This City Knows Our Name

She was the closest
I had ever felt to home.
Her breath, her smile,
The way she danced.
Her laugh alone
Lit me up for days.
That infinite wonder
That never got old.

And just like my home,
I am going to leave her.
She is both my summertime breeze,
and the ashes that my lungs wheeze.
From the day that she said
“I think you love me
More than I love you.
You say you’re in love,
But I don’t know what that means.”
Now she is taking it back,
Begging for that 10th chance.
But not even cats get that many lives.

Avoiding sad songs like the plague,
I’m sure everyone in this room can relate.
To that hopeful, lonely child
Perpetually begging you for just
A little more time.
She wants to believe in love
With her whole, frail, tiny body.
But if I don’t pull her away,
Crying and saying anything she can,
Her blood will be on my hands.

Our once seamless, in step,
Just plain serendipitous,
Dancing has been replaced with
Fumbling, bumping, and loneliness.
And now she knows the back of my head
Better than the crook in my smile.
Our love crippled me.
I hit the grass so audibly,
Yet just like my pleas,
She didn’t hear me snap.

I want only what I can’t completely have.

That’s the only explanation.
Too many bruises, too many
Irreversibly damaging statements
To rationalize my chains.
With our hands at each others
Hearts and throats
Together we erased the line between
Love and insanity.
Fingering wounds from the past
An erotic game.
Yet I pined like a child
Never failing to forgive
Vowing better for myself
Only to find the ribcaged animal
Had picked up her scent again.
My love runs deeply, wholly, and feverishly.
For two years, I waited patiently
To feel reciprocation of that passion.
I died for her so many times.

I died each and every time
I had to swallow my pride
And beg for physical love.
Knowing chances were slim to none
That she craved me back.
I died whenever she forgot her strength
And pushed me a little too hard.
I died again and again,
unknowing of the resentment building,
For how no matter how much I gave,
Her day to day high was priority.

What kept bringing me back?
The tears and spit that flew
Whenever she roared
Collected like rain water in my lungs
Until I couldn’t breathe without screaming.
Our favorite place to hug
Was so low to the ground
that it kicked up the dirt
we gagged on and gripped
so tightly in our fists
when we wanted to fight dirty.
We spent our days laughing at couples’ tattoos,
Yet we gave ourselves matching swollen eyelids.

I got comfortable with the pain.
As if I’d broken my leg and had
Gotten used to limping.
I died my final death
When not only was my touch not enough,
but neither was my gender.

So here I stand,
Watching the smoke roll from my hands
Where I’d held a rope that
Paid no mind to my desperation
To my surprise, hands have begun
To appear from the woodworks
And I realize they’d been
Waiting for their friend.
As if I had returned from war,
they were held banners that read
“Welcome home.”

And I’ve noticed something
Bittersweet about the spring.
It’s a make-or-break season.
As love begins to bloom
Like daffodils or plumes,
The fresh breeze gives a sad relief
To those of us on our knees.
The painful clarity of love
coming to an end.

Photo Credit: clairecarey Flickr via Compfight cc

Categories: Dating + RelationshipsPoetry

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Jamie Sawczyszyn

Jamie has been writing all of her life, and went to school for 3 years to study professional writing. Though she just began submitting to publications more recently, she has hosted several slam poetry events for herself and other writers to perform their works of art. Writing is more of an artistic outlet for her, and mainly focuses on raw nonfiction prose and poetry. She is in the works of writing a nonfiction book, which will focus on the psychological impact that her childhood had on her as she grew into an adult, and overcoming her anxiety disorder. She hopes that her book, like most of her works of poetry, will help any of her readers who are struggling with mental illness or going through a rough time in thier lives.

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