I can’t save the world. I can’t change society. I’m only one person, after all. I can improve the lives of maybe one hundred people on some miniscule level. Twenty-five significantly, in all the years I live. But one life, your life, I can change completely and forever. I can wake you from your nightmares. I can tell you you’re beautiful, even if you’ll never believe me, because you’ll still know I believe it. I can give you a cottage by the ocean or a farmhouse surrounded by fields surrounded by forest, and dogs to run in that forest, and vegetables to grow in those fields. I can show you a happiness you never thought possible for yourself and in that way I will change the entire world for you, and that will be a legacy worth leaving.
She says to write about myself but I don’t know how. If I try to look too deep all I see are the individual pieces I’ve gathered like a crow building its nest; scraps of sound, shards of sight, pieces of texture and taste and temptation. I lose my sense of self to the mosaic until I forget if I’m a girl or just sea salt and fog and candleflicker in dark windows. When I turn within myself and ask “who am I?” no voice answers. All I hear is the susurration of the ocean and the wind through pine boughs. When I turn within myself and ask “what am I?” all I feel is the heartbeat of mountains and the stars revolving overhead.
girlfriend mumbles in her sleep
I stifle laughter
dinos in the doughnut shop?
oh no! t-rex fell over!
Some days I don’t want to be beautiful. Some days I want to be a monster, frightening and furious. I want to cover myself in armor and spikes, hide every bit of pink human flesh beneath ink and metal, grow claws and fangs and horns. I want to dye myself colors that warn poison! poison! so no one comes near. I want to be too strange, too foreign, too dangerous. Too different. Not beautiful. Not dependable. Not the good girl. Just wild.
(But on some nights, every night, I want to strip all that armor off and crawl naked into your arms. Be small and weak and unadorned; just a girl, neither good nor bad. Even on the days when I want to be a monster, I want to be only myself with you.)
If you must go away, at least leave me a trail to follow for the day my heart grows too restless to restrain; breadcrumbs, blood, tears, bullet shells, shards of glass or pieces of the moon, it doesn’t matter what; I’ll know what you have touched, so just leave me something and I will follow the day I can no longer bear to stay behind.
rising up, flooding every chamber
but that’s not what I dream about;
I dream about liquid fire
and me screaming over the thunder;
about jet planes nosediving
falling from the sky like diseased birds dashing themselves on rocks
escape by suicide;
about crumbled cities
refugees and ghosts;
it seems these days
all my nightmares are about losing you