For Sophie

Nineteen passed by too quickly,
what with the liquor
and drugs
and all the mentally ill crap,
but I don’t wanna talk about that.
I wanna talk about the moments
lit like fireworks in my memory,
heartbreak loud without apology or consideration
for my neighbours
(who still hate me, by the way).
I wanna remember her smile
how it felt in my stomach,
roses growing in my oesophagus,
thorns catching my throat when I laughed
but her hands brushing mine
gentle,
containing a quiet apocalypse with fingertips that always smell too much like cigarettes and home.
The curve of her mouth
as we recount stories of high school classrooms and jumping picket fences,
police calls and serenades by boys who heard we were bisexual
and assumed threesomes were on the table.
Our English teacher,
her voice a symphony but one we almost ignored 
too caught up in dreaming ourselves to death and emptying our rose stems into toilet bowls.
We were newly sixteen then,
and we understood Persephone over any other god
cause when Hades opened its jaw,
she leapt,
balled fists and pomegranate seeds,
straight into the dark.
Let it swallow her whole.
And Sophie, I let him
swallow me whole,
and I can still taste hell on my tongue sometimes.
Nineteen passed by too quickly cause I spent it wasting away,
locking myself in rooms, too sick to move, every part of me feeling colder than death.
I do not say this to demonise,
or throw accusations in his direction,
merely to say that I loved him
and when I was nineteen I thought
he loved me too.

Sometimes things happen for a reason but it doesn’t make them any less shitty.
Clarity can only wipe away so much dirt.
I know I am better now, wiser now, fuller now
but that doesn’t mean it didn’t fucking hurt.

I have waged wars almost all of my life.
But you are the one nation
I know will always take my side,
a commander and general with nothing but pride
every time I pick myself up again.

Never pity. Never fear.
Only love.

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