Recognition

I’ve been afraid of truth-telling

when the stakes are high.

 

Loss was my parent

wearing my father’s disintegrated face

once I outgrew my childskin,

 

then it morphed

into lovers who never opened

the soul I wrapped up like a birthday present

and handed over whole.

 

Still I would not be jaded.

I knew, in the way that I cannot disprove

and refuse to negate

the existence of magic,

that love was the only thing

worth belief,

no matter how many times

it miraged through my hope-shaken hands.

 

So I hold you,

not clutching

as though I have a fairy in a jar,

but with a tendering awe,

nervously reaching out my fingertip

just to know it’s real enough to touch.

 

The words sit under my tongue

even as it tastes you,

never thoroughly enough;

each stolen/gifted hour savored

until the flavor is sucked dry,

 

but I haven’t taken time enough

to memorize the pattern and color of your eyes

still fearing that if I were to address

your wild heart

it would spook like a whitetail

taught that all 2-legs have guns.

 

On the way to a wedding

my mother told me to be brave,

that it was important,

to be naked

 

even when culture says

to reveal invites abuse,

though I never listened

until love

gave me

one too many times

without consent.

 

I’ve never felt taken from,

only that at times I gave too freely

to the same cruel lover,

who arrives each time with a new face,

greedier and hungrier.

 

I don’t think you’re a bully’s joke.

I don’t think you’re here to teach me another hard lesson.

I don’t think I’ve learned the last,

maneuvered through the final rough patch, but

I do think

you are worthy of pause,

the glimmer in the forest

I know is real

beyond all want of proof.

 

I have been afraid of love

like I am afraid to go out into the wilderness alone,

knowing exactly what lives there unseen,

the hairs on my neck noticing,

instinct overriding rationale.

 

I know now that it’s best to wait

until the scent of adrenaline

has dissipated from my hair,

to stand soft in the clearing

and make no sudden movement

as I watch you from this closeness.

 

I know exactly what you are

and what it might mean to call out your name

into the tingling space,

 

clutching my breath,

pierced sudden

by recognition.

 

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About jake.forrest

Poet. Songwriter. Etc. View all posts by jake.forrest

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