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.



About jake.forrest

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

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