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 broken
into soft pieces?
Your voice,
your eyes,
your words –
they’re just all so fragile.
(And yet I feel their changing
like a river somewhere
beneath my feet.)

I want to embrace you.
I want to kiss your face
like the prodigal’s 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.
(The warmth of your smell continues
to send shivers through me
that make the nights bleed.)
Those are not you,
but they are what you’ve left.
While I can not love them,
I can name each of them
and their tenuously carved imprint
on 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
(after I’ve poured it into others’ hands)
I rub like olive oil
into the new skin
that belongs only
to the me of the now.

So this is me
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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