I know I will never be as brave or as afraid as you were.
I know I will never have to hold myself up the way you did.
I know because of you that tears taste like stormy oceans in the morning,
and that I have fingers that claw and tear people apart
just so they don’t have to brave the cold alone.
I learnt with you the power of words
– and of silence.
I’m sorry that loneliness was your teacher,
and and that your hands never met warmth.
I’m sorry that there are stories you’ll never share,
I’m sorry about the ghosts and the mirrors and the darkness,
God so much darkness.
I’m sorry that you could not be braver or more afraid.
I’m sorry that you had to carry dead bodies with you,
holding hands in a chain of despair
for all the versions we had been.
I’m sorry that hands and lips and thoughts–
I’m sorry that you cried, and I cried, and you cried and I laughed.
Hair is softer than we thought it was,
lips are warmer than we thought they were,
and salvation is sweeter and bitter at the same time.
Love was love was love was love was a lie.
You bit through your tongue so you wouldn’t have to lie.
I remember the taste of blood in the back of my mouth,
like a foolish lover that wouldn’t let us die.
Oh, how you loved to die.
You died everyday for a year.
The bodies piled up, and up, and up, and up.
Dead bodies wherever the eye could see.
And you held hands with them all.
I know touch–
I know fingers and hands and arms,
I know things you never knew.
I wish you had known that arms hold the way fingers touch-
gently, nervous, loving-
that you can love someone without losing the lie.
I wish someone had told you that love is love is alive.
I wish life had given us flowers and giggles and an adventure after the other.
I know you wished for arms that hold like fingers –
careful, scared, beautiful-
that you could’ve loved someone without the lie.
I know you believed that love could be alive…
if it wasn’t with you.
I’m sorry that it was never with you,
I’m sorry that you had to lie.
I’m sorry, above all, that you died,
that I’m holding your hand the way you used to-
frightened, sad, and lonely-
I’m sorry that you never loved you the way I do,
that you never could.
To my high school self,
I love you.