He’s not the first to tell you you’re beautiful,
because apparently 9.25 ounces of wriggling, writhing ventricles
is something akin
He’s the first to tell you he’ll stay.
You’re smarter this time, braver,
so you tell him of the black hole between your lungs.
“I don’t know how to talk to people,” you say.
He looks at you like you’re the shackle
and he’s the victim of a drowning accident.
“It doesn’t matter,” he tells you, but it does,
and you spend the next four months waiting for him to leave.
(You thank him for staying.
The words taste like the prayers your father says at night
before curling round your mother’s body.
He loved you like an EMP.
Shatter at his feet.
Make him bleed.)
He makes you feel like you’re bursting.
Once you mention the magnitude of space,
and you think there are worlds nestled in the notches of his spine
but then he says something sensible—
and you spend the rest of the night
biting your tongue.
You taste like time.
You have the sensibility not to speak.
He leaves you like you’re the thing coming from a woman’s uterus,
purple and wrinkled and atrocious.
You scream his name.
You are the noose round a deadman’s neck.
You cry in the shower, on the shoulders of strangers.
There is this: 18 years, you’ve forgotten what it is
to say goodbye
with your heart still lodged between your empty spaces.
Little girl, don’t you know you are made of stardust?
You are mad, impossible, the tick-tick
of a cosmic time bomb.
You are not his astronaut.
He is not your spaceship.
Rip those veins open and let those constellations bleed.”
Brianna Albers, He Is Not Your Spaceship
“See? I did it!” vs. “This is who I think I really am.”
Decision-making in your late twenties is more a matter of changing lanes than it is making a left or right turn. Not that it’s simple to turn on your signal and start to shift. Not that it’s painless to ease into your blind spot.
"What is real?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were laying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn’t how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn’t happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand."”
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams