A Love Poem I Promised Myself I Wouldn’t Write.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you! About my baggage. It’s heavy, like limp bodies are heavy. Like anchors that hold down slave ships are heavy, like the pit in the bottom of your stomach is heavy. One slung over each shoulder, weighing down, down, down. The contents are flammable. Fragile. And haz-mat teams are not standing by. Emergency exits are at the back and to the left. Remain calm. Walk. Do not run. 

Do not leave.


I know I’m the girl you’re scared of. 

I know I am the chipped figurine at the back of the shelf: Beautiful, but only at angles that hide the damage. I know I am worn down strings on a million dollar Stradivarius, or for you, probably on a 200 dollar acoustic guitar. 

I am a cup of scalding tea, precariously perched on the precipice of stability,

And I know that you do not have to be there to catch me if you don’t want to. 

But if you do reach out your hand to offer a safe place for me to land, you better be ready for the heat. Your skin better be thick enough, just in case the porcelain shatters. You better be strong enough, because honey, I promise you it’s  heavier than it looks. 

If you do choose to strum me like your 200 dollar acoustic guitar – fond, tender, and familiar – be ready for some hideously out-of-tune chords because 1)I’m woefully out of practice, and 2)you’re muscle memory is gonna take a while to get used to the likes of me. 

And if you do decide to look upon my crystalline curves and angles, I hope you won’t grimace at the cracks, or the dried glue from other attempts at mending. Darling, I am a stained-glass mosaic pieced together with salvaged shards of myself, and I just might be the sort of abstract art that’s best admired from afar.

But if you do chance a closer look, I hop you’ll have the patience to wait for sunlight to shine through me just right, because I can’t be beautiful all the time. 

Sometimes I am ugly. 

And I am difficult. 

I will let my past sometimes render me bitter, and I’ll hurt you with angry, confused words, and I will push you away. But I hope you’ll find that my beautiful days are beautiful enough for you to stay. 

I know it’s customary for us to tell potential lovers all the great things we are, but I’ll do us the hideous favor of telling you all the wonderful things I’m not. 

I am not all sunny days or long walks on the beach. I’m not chocolate covered strawberries, or gentle breezes…

I am often thunderstorms and volcanic eruptions. I am an exhausting journey up a sheer cliff. I am empty, barren winters, and hurricane-force winds. 

My love, sometimes I am a disaster. 

And I know it would be unfair for me to ask you to lie down on the tracks, waiting for this train-wreck to engulf you to share my burdens with me.

But if you do choose to opt into loving me, remember what I am. 

And when you decide to leave, don’t say I didn’t warn you. 


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