Where you live on me

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I spend days and nights standing in your love like it was the sun, like it were the shade.

When you share your mind and your ears and your mouth and your heart, and your heart and your eyes and your soul and your hands with someone you expect them to know everything about you. You expect them to know what you’re doing and thinking, learning and knowing. And where it hurts. Where it stings most. You expect they can smell the burning of your skin when you are palm to palm, face to face.

You imagine they know when you break out into a sweat and when your breath is short. You believe they must know when your head aches, when your eyes itch, and when your heart begins to wear down like all tired muscles do. You think, “well, of course s/he knows that my knees are sore from genuflecting. S/he knows when my wrists flex with the might of elephants and when they are as brittle as reeds.”

You live here beneath my left breast, stitched into a bruised, bloody pocket hovering over my ribs. It doesn’t heal. It doesn’t close; it is a living wound. A human stain. I cannot leave it alone. My fingers return to it ever so often stroking the uneven darts of thread, the broken skin, the clots of congealed blood that gather like dead pools in the creases of my chest. Like an unrepentant nail biter, I worry the traumatised flesh and let my blood be stung by the bite of longing. I am smoothing down the raw surface of love, over the place you live and wonder if this is how home is supposed to feel. This close, this painful, this constant ache.

I don’t heal. The wound does not enjoy the peace of an old scar. There are no memories, no phantom limbs, no new skin. This is alive. This love, this craving, this leech-like bleeding. And I wait for you to return to me and place your hand over this unsightly bevel and close its mouth to waiting, once and for all.

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