A letter to all of my past selves

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It’s good to see you again.
I’ve forgotten how fragile you are.
How have you not already dissolved
into tired pieces?
Your voice,
your eyes,
your words –
they’re just all so fragile.
(And yet their evolving
still runs like a river
beneath my feet.)

I want to embrace you.
I want to kiss your face
like the prodigal son.
I really want to.
But I can’t.
Love is only meant
for those of the present,
and whether you believe it or not,
you are no longer here.

But listen still,
what I have of you now
are those rusting remnants
that resurface whenever
I enter familiar places I once
thought breathed solely
within the forever departing past.
(Your metallic smell continues
to send shivers through me
that make my nights bleed.)

These remnants are not you,
but they are what you’ve left.
While I can not love them,
I can name each of them
and each fingerprint tinting
the kaleidoscopic mosaic
of me here, now
burning incessantly
against movement, time.

Here’s why I can no longer love you:
all the love I have left to give
I rub like olive oil
into the new skin
that belongs only
to the me of the now.

So here I am
saying sorry,
saying goodbye,
saying thank you.

I once needed you.
I once loved you.
But now
I no longer do,
and please know
that this makes me


                   (a name our lips can only remember
                                 in darkness)



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