7 years, a poem

Sasha Zamani/Staff

french class. first day of high school,
still learning the language of love,
I asked what you were listening to.
“the smiths”
ear bud hanging,
smile cracking, young and shy.

“just friends,”
I reassured everyone who asks.

four years passed. we
unraveled each other like
spools of yarn. you
dug your fingers into me and
laid me bare, thread by
painstaking thread.

“where is your father?”
“favorite color?”
“which way would you least like to die?”

the hard questions,
the easy ones.
you learned
my answers.

senior year of high school,
we sat under
a sky shifting red and pink to
cool lilac and dark navy.

I kissed you
for the first time, and
I was Sisyphus, crushing his rock and
Noah touching land.

hungrily explored each other like
coming home from war,
knew the magic would disappear
when we packed our bags to go.

that year, I left.
for three years
we tried to make the distance work.

we didn’t make it work.

I mistook a story for a soulmate,
a dorm room for a marching ground,
our bodies for temples, even though
we were never scared,
never holy,
never more than blood-red sin, Moses
parted on a whim.

I have spent 7 years learning
everything about you.
but in 7 more,
none of my skin
will have known
any part of you.

forgive me, love, but
I need a haven that isn’t your body,
isn’t your temple,
isn’t quite so holy.

but in these 7 years,
i’ll remember as my organs forget you.
in these 7 years,
i promise
i will try.

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