First

Until after us

I thought I would always spread so easily and so thin that everyone could look straight through.

You showed me the sound of two eyes opening,

Helped me find a way to hold my hands without feeling ashamed.

 

But you were just baby teeth, and I couldn’t hold on to you;

Though I tried, for a time.

 

I walked away first,

And I learnt the sound a man makes when he shatters,

And I left the pieces for someone else to clean up.

 

I left with room for bigger and sharper lessons

And no way to protect myself from them,

 

And I burnt every piece I had left of you

In the ritual pyre of the first break,

Of the first ache.

Did not think to keep even one.

And I will always wonder why I did that,

And I will sometimes wish that I hadn’t.

 

And the one who came after you was too proud, with eyes that roamed

Too far,

And too greedily he tried to fill the spaces you had left

No care for fragile edges.

 

And too soon he ripped the pieces away again, from the spaces they would never fit,

The spaces shaped like you –

Too soft and unready for new.

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