Because I Love You

First you convince me that I am crazy, so I convince me that I am crazy too. 

You tell me that the difference between black and blue is that the flesh should never be yellow. 

You tell me that it is all in my head, because where else would be? 

You convince me that the walls will close in with every breath I take, so I bite my tongue. 

 

I become obsessed, quite acutely with the softness of hands,

and the way they wrap around my neck,

just before I choke. 

 

And I know that your hands don’t feel like my mother’s. 

And they don’t feel like my own.

I ask you where you’ve been when you come home smelling like the train tracks in the graveyard. You tell me not to worry about it too much, and you kiss me like you’ve put glass on your tongue for me to swallow, and I lose what is left of my hollow voice. 

 

You wake up in the midst of the golden morning and you stretch yourself limb to limb. I’m too tired to ask you where you are going, so I only ever watch you leave. And on the first night when you don’t come back I watched the world expand. The walls push back. I live in this house again… 

 

But when you return I retreat back into my mind,

where everything like a kaleidoscope appears in vibrant color, 

but shattered…

You kiss until the blood makes pools of crimson on the linoleum in the bathroom, 

you twist my wrist until there is no more gold… 

I tell you to let go, and you grip me tighter. 

I am not yours, but I am not mine either. 

 

You leave and I am an empty vessel, 

screaming in an unmarked territory.

I am a part of a land you will claim is undiscovered.

One that you will try to rename like Christopher Columbus did…

but only after you have scorched it to the ground and taken every bit of culture and self-identity out of my skin.

You claim me for yourself. 

 

But you never asked me if I wanted to be yours. 

I am a spine snapped in two when I leave. 

Bloodied knuckles and bruised wrists. 

 

I wake up in the white, and it smells sterile. 

Tube shoved into the water-colored skin you were so proud of… 

I am an art project for heavy, unartistic, sloppy hands. 

 

I am a toy thrown away because I am no longer pretty. 

Whose fault is it that I am no longer pretty? 

 

Every day I talk to the voices that talk back. 

Every day it is, “How are you today?” 

“How does that make you feel?” 

“What would you do if you could do just one thing today?” 

It takes a while, but I start responding. 

“I am fine.” I say to the voice. 

“It makes me feel everything until everything becomes nothing.” I say to the voice. 

“If I could do one thing today it would be to be brave enough to get out of bed.” I say to the voice. 

“And if you were brave enough to get out of bed, then what would you do?” says the voice. 

“I’d go to the flowers and sit in the gold until my skin absorbs it all… I want to be gold and yellow.” I respond. 

“Is that so?” says the voice with a slight grin. 

“That is so.” I say, and the voice becomes a person.

I sit in front of yet another man…

and I shake like a doe, bow-legged and timid. 

 

And it becomes this dance around the truth.

Every week until I get “better” 

But, even once they tell me I am better I don’t really know what that means…

 

And the hours turn into days.

The days turn into months…

Finally, they tell me that I can go home. 

 

So I tell myself that this is my chance to finally sit amongst the marigolds.

So I do, and when I do I tell them the same thing I started telling myself: 

 

I breathe because I love you. 

I breathe because I love you. 

I breathe because I love you.

This poem is about: 
My community
Our world

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