I loved a woman whose hair was made of sunbeams;
Strawberry blonde and always in a tangle in her neck,
like some mess of a kitten trying to get to sleep somewhere warm.
I loved her when youth was just becoming something I was prepared to let go.
And I was working hard to save up money for what everyone called the future,
but what I could only see as an extension of the days spent cradling her while she sang songs of leaves falling.
I loved a woman whose name was a string of Babylonian curse word smothered into a pillow at 1 am,
or Henrietta when I was calling her from the hallway.
I loved her fiercely and without abandon.
Her tongue was made of religious prayers wrapped inside muscles that made my eyes roll back into my head and my fingers clutch the wood of the bed in desperation.
Her eyes had wrinkles in the corner of them and shadows underneath,
Sweet and dark like she preferred her tea.
I loved a woman back in the days when the streets were paved with hope.
And when asked I said nothing of her generous arms and tired feet,
But I think they could see her stretched out on my too wide mouth.
These were the days we still got away with dancing in the town square,
sitting with legs apart in wide skirts and Henrietta in her high heels that I could hear a block away when she came home angry.
These were the days of smoking rolled cigarettes sweetened with tobacco from India,
it was the days of wood and ash and music.
Now are the days of cold steel.
I loved a woman, back in the days when there was still such a thing as closed blinds and burgundy painted book cases.
And now it’s nothing but emptiness where she used to lie, there is no café in the town square anymore and when I see red blonde kittens I feel a pang of guilt.
I lied on in breaths as well as out breaths when asked if everything was ok,
quick to ignored the distance in her eyes and how she stopped singing.
I brought home tea sets the colour of her lips but it wasn’t enough.
I loved a woman who swept herself away on a Tuesday afternoon with words that stuck to the walls and crawled over me for weeks.
I loved her without abandon and shame, and for that I now avoid town squares and cower under the sound of heels.
I loved a woman back when I still had love to give.
And her name was a string of Babylonian curse words shouted into the night at 1 am,
or Henrietta when I talk about her in my sleep.
I have a scar on my cheek from a boy.
It stands as a testament for how far I let my own delusions drag me.
Thirteen years and in love with a boy who was built up of mean bones and full lips that I never got to kiss.
I spent my afternoons picking gravel out of the palms of my hands.
I spent my mornings walking after him in the hallways.
I told my mother he was troubled and she shook her head and twisted her hands in despair.
He’s not always like that, sometimes he laughs and it sounds like sunshine.
Sometimes he talks to me about silent things and the dreams he has.
I tell her that sometimes he looks at me like he doesn’t understand why I’m still there, but he doesn’t push me away and that means something.
That means something, I shout at her stiff back and I can’t see her face as she shakes her head some more.
Drunk on my own desire I kept running towards his fists hoping one day they would open to caress me.
I told myself I could change him.
I regret all the excuses I’ve made for wounded boys with snarls on their faces.
I regret not saving all the stories I wrote.
The ones I printed out page after page after page and kept in binders.
I was so proud of the universes I created.
The dragons in the wall, the boy who smelled like sunshine, the girl with the forest green dress.
I have become the sort of adult I shied away from,
rough around the edges, sad eyes and dismissive of bad writing.
Because I would sit for hours while writing about places I wanted to escape to,
and now that I’ve escaped I want nothing to do with that girl anymore.
The soft little girl who cried a lot and wrote stories on every piece of papers she owned.
I’m sorry I didn’t continue writing about the forest hidden inside the walls,
I threw all 47 pages away.
I regret the time I smashed my favourite mug,
the urge to feel alive came upon me in the kitchen.
In desperation I reached out for the first thing I could find.
I needed to feel shards in my hands.
I needed to know for certain that the world was sharp.
In that moment I could have unhinged my jaw and devoured everything,
but I settled for destroying something small to prove to myself that I was real.
I regret the walks I didn’t take,
after fights and after deafening silence.
I always have the urge to run away and I should do it in small bursts.
I’m afraid that all the walks I don’t take in the middle of the night,
they gather together and suddenly I’m at the airport with
two suitcases and my heart in my mouth.
I regret thinking I wasn’t worth enough to be kept whole,
that I deserved to be crushed open and picked apart.
Every line on my flesh that I’ve carved in myself,
I regret those the most.
don’t look at me with pity, this isn’t why I’m doing this.
Some people live their whole lives without wanting to break apart,
others can’t stand the thought of healing into something where it doesn’t show.
Listen to me when I tell you that I am made of forged iron, bruised lips and stars.
Once I wanted to dig my fingernails into the core of myself and rip and shred and tear apart.
And I regret ever believing that I was worth nothing more than long sleeved jumpers in the summer and a mouth full of smoke.
But I have maps on my skin that shows me the way out of the pit and if I forget all I have to do is trace the roads back home with my fingertips.
I regret talking too loud when I’m drunk.
The world has taught me that nice girls are quiet,
we sit in the corner on your eye with a timid smile and folded legs.
I wake up the next day and I can feel my own loud voice echoing back.
And in a fierce moment I don’t regret it at all.
I regret being told that I’m only worth something when I let you speak and hold my tongue.