you’re that detached, controlling lover,
whose eyes follow me everywhere
and remind me that i need you. i wish
that i didn’t have to rely on you so much,
and that i could make decisions without
consulting you. you warn me that to keep our
relationship steady, i need to make sacrifices.
i need to think about us.
late at night, this makes sense to me.
you’re everything, but you’re nothing.
your absence echoes confusion and clarity
in my head. our love felt so real that
i didn’t notice its fragility; petty arguments
crumbled compassion and
mistrust clouded understanding.
the echo deepens until i envision the cosmos,
where dead stars whisper riddles that are
the secrets of life. the echo throbs and
i meditate over our past, hoping to decipher
a riddle on love, a riddle on our truth.
the riddle melts into the strings of constellations
and weaves itself into the empty fabric of
our night sky. in its emptiness,
i almost forgot to remember–
i am free.
we can only respect our cultures
when they respect our women.
the rugged path they paved with womens’ bones
is lit by orbs that hold dreams they forced us to forget–
dreams in which limits only came from our fears
and not systemic cages and structural, inevitable dead ends
where men stand in the dark like vampires who use glamour
to feign trust and to illustrate humanity’s tenderness.
forced to walk barefoot on this path, the stones sting
like cigarette burns and pierce like
coerced body art at a tattoo parlor; right before
her tattoo session she screams that
she refuses to go down this aisle with that pale man
she’s run away from in her dreams
because in her dreams she awoke to a man’s
fate tattooed on her collarbone. she chants that
she is no one’s keeper, she is no one’s anything
but her own.