I don’t know when it turned so brown, grainy like pieces of ripped up photographs that have been stripped down and boiled into a crisp that smells like something you hoped you forgot. And this doesn’t sound pretty, not like her skin, and it doesn’t feel real, not like the moments I’m with her. But it might sound cliché like every other word that comes out of my god damn mouth since pressing my nervous palms against her waist. And she said my hands were soft as she entangled her fingers deeper into mine, but tangles become knots like those in my once empty stomach that now bears not enough space. Discomfort in her presence and discontent in her absence. Like a song that starts midway through on your favorite line, caught off guard, unexpected, unraveling. And nothing makes sense but the smallest things, like maple leaves you saw falling in New York that one night. Because maple, maple, maple is more real than honey.
And I want to know what her first love must have done to encapsulate a heart that is set to songs enciphered a thousand different ways. And I want to wait on her steps as she drives me away for someone who can’t see how her voice cracks at the tone of another’s lies. Someone who can’t see how it takes time to forgive with an unbalanced heart, and how she brushes her hair back in such a soft, careful way. And I want to sleep next to her, in some innocent manner, just to know she trusts me. And in my daze I find myself recounting old lines and making some type of verbal pact with the sky that says when autumn leaves fall I too can heal over. As if empty words were something I couldn’t taste when my tongue was covered in a sweet gloss, eyes foggy and throat dry, as if all you can do is breathe.
And I have to convince myself I can’t pretend it doesn’t make my heart physically hurt as I bend over like there’s a pain in my stomach when in reality I am hugging fresh air while clinging to an unwrinkled shirt. It’s all in my mind, trapped in some type of brown and red emptiness. Forming rings around my eyes that haunt my lips, like I’m emulating maple, like I’m stuck.
But in the silliest way she reminds me of French Toast made with one egg and doses of cinnamon sugar. And she reminds me of Sunday afternoons as a child and the smell of mornings that warm your toes against the backdrop of a house made of blankets.
But I don’t know what she wants from me as my age old clichés keep me from overanalyzing the way her fingers inch toward mine. And I don’t want to keep guessing but I don’t want to leave either, normalizing the way her voice sticks to parts of my stomach as my head rhymes inaccurate words with her name.
But I don’t want to feel and I don’t want to sink,
I want to stay afloat on top of hands that keep me warm at night.
But she doesn’t get it…
how my mind works.
She doesn’t see how for the sake of my own unclogged veins I need to forget.
And her jaded mind will think it’s hatred or some forgettable lust
And with fingers in her hair and open stitches on my sleeves and with the calmest form of trust
I wish I could just tell her
I simply can’t afford to confuse maple with love.