Learning to Forgive Yourself

You turn up at 2am,
wine laced words slipping liberally from lips
sewn shut more often than most.
Just a ghost
in another man’s body,
a demon by any other name.
Not the same boy I asked to my door.
Too much wolf in your smile and gasoline on your skin,
but I am open,
church doors swinging,
and when they told me ‘don’t pray for the fallen,’ I never listened.

Three beers later and we are shoulder
against shoulder,
sharing scars and secrets in fading light.
And you are laughing.
God, you are laughing and I am laughing and we are drowning in the people we used to be,
and it’s so close to perfect it bothers me.

But then you get this look in your eye,
a cry for mercy written on your face.
We are sitting in a blue and white room as dawn paints the outside sky,
and I am asking you ‘why?’
See I’ve seen that look too many times
not to recognise self loathing eyes.
When you walk past mirrors,
I bet it seems like they splinter,
like your own reflection spits out your name.
But in that same vein,
I look at you most days and all I see’s an ocean wave;
formidable, yes, but holy,
so you need not ask for mercy.
Not here. Not
with me.
I don’t care if it takes near a hundred days,
I’ll make you see what I see eventually.

Everyone has to repent for something,
and it has little to do with God.
We’re all mending broken bones in whatever ways we can,
so don’t just shrug when I say I understand.
And don’t push me away.
I know it’s easier to be alone than to live with your pain,
but you can’t let rats gnaw at your insides forever
and whether you like it or not, we’re in this together.

If only you could see what I see,
boy with kaleidoscope eyes,
hair like sunrise and a heart
in time with mine.
I don’t have the same healing hands as my Mother,
but you make me want to try.

Right now you reek of Lonely
and it’s staining every wall,
but people get it wrong when they say that pride comes
before a fall.
The fall comes first,
all broken bones and bruised kneecaps,
hands that won’t stop shaking,

this does not define you.
This does not
define you.

Grieving yourself is half bodies in the closet,
half splayed fingers on another person’s skin.
Part eye of the storm, part full raging war,
and I know I’ve told you it before, but

you are not your scars,
or the people who have left you with scorch marks.
You are a bottomless sea, an impenetrable forest,
and a good man,
if I’m being honest.


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