Letter to My Unborn Daughter 

Dear love of mine, 

it has come to my attention 
that you’re stealing 
the beginnings
of your Mama’s poem, 
so let me start by saying this:
You’ll be all
and nothing like her. 

Your eyes
will never be baptized
into the pains that she has felt, 
when her pupils 
dilated to discover her worth
need not be assessed by men 
who only want to perform price checks
but are never committed to buy. 

I will deluge you with a love 
that appreciates your value daily,
so much so 
that you will never be bought. 
Every man will always be
an honest compliment shy, 
a touch of love too short, 
an insufficient fund away
to get you to stay. 

My dear, 
I have no intentions
of giving your hand away, 
but I’ve already composed this score 
for the occasion. 
I pray, 
the day that it comes
I will be less of the man I am today
and more of the man
you’ll need me to be. 
Lord knows, 
I’ve never been in a fight
a day in my life
but I will go to war for you. 
I will battle your demons. 
I will vanquish your foes. 
I will dismantle every man
that desires to treat you as some – 
word that I shouldn’t say. 

May he respect you 
long after he has earned your love. 
May he love you
long after he has earned your trust. 
May he trust you
as if he’s learned that he must 
because 
hearts don’t break around here. 
My darling, 
you won’t break when I’m near. 

So call me. 
Call me when you need me,
call me when you don’t. 
Call me when he forgets your birthday, 
you’ll already know that I won’t;
just
call me. 

Even though we’ve yet to meet,
at this point in my life
I’ve already loved you more
than any woman I’ve ever met. 
I have vowed 
to resurrect the best of myself
to give over to you
so you’ll always have faith 
in love. 

All I’ll need you to do
is breathe easy. 
Remember, 
that sometimes love will feel
like you’ve been shortchanged;
a part of you
will want to curl into a fist, 
you’ll wish 
that you’ve never met men. 
I’ll wish 
that they’ve never met you.  

You, 
with the dimpled smile
you borrowed from your mother. 
You, 
my unborn princess 
I vow to love like no other. 
You, 
will always be my sunshine,
my only sunshine. 

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Break Even

I needed you
to break me Irish Spring
bar soap clean.
Needed you to break me
like cellphone screen shatters
the day after warranty
and no insurance
to play safety net with.
Needed you to break me
in higher definition,
play me back
at thirty frames a second
so the fractures in my smile
can be seen
with more meaning. 

Then,
let the shards
fall where they may,
but if I have any say,
let them fall
where I’ve known love the strongest,
known love the deepest.
Embed me
back into the walls
of your veins
to pulse back into your heart.
Inscribe me
into one of your valves
so I can feel
the current of your love again.
Chamber me
into one of your ventricles
and I will pump
more than a heroic effort
to keep us alive. 

Just,
don’t let me feel
like I’m paddling ashore
with one oar;
circling for reasons
why you’d leave
without a ripple of an excuse
to wave by me.
I always thought
we had more depth than that,
more weight
than our mass. 

But if that’s not the case
break me deep,
break me even.
I’ll add the odds of myself
into a sum short of you
to keep me whole. 

Leave the Gloves

When true love
formally introduces herself
it’ll feel like
a sparring match gone wrong.
She’ll be seasoned in MMA
and carry an unblemished record
in the UFC
and you?
You’ll be decorated
with hand-me-down gloves
from a family tree
that left you ill-prepared
to land a love tap,
and forget about defense. 

She’ll punch you
square in the face.
Laugh.
Ask if you’re okay,
then repeat.
You won’t find
any of this funny,
but she’s just trying
to knock your ex
out of your future conversations;
so if you lose any teeth today,
you won’t lose their wisdom tomorrow. 

She
will then jab you with a combo,
a multiplicity of questions
to question your masculinity.
You
will pretend to be unphased
until she has you in a choke hold asking:
“Who’s
your
Daddy?” 

Understand,
she’s not trying to offend,
she just
needs to make sure
you know who you are
before approaching the mat.
Far too many men
have desired to fill her in
with half-hearted efforts
in filling themselves.
Now that she’s whole
she’s searching for another mind
to color out of the lines with and,
is that you? 

She’s going to play dirty.
Land cheap shots
below the belt,
connect your jaw
with an uppercut
after the bell has rung but,
there’s no refs in love.
The rounds
are eternal and
she’s going to need you to fight;
and if you can’t stand
on your own two feet
in a sparring match then,
tap out now.
Letting go
is the least you can do.
Please,
leave the gloves
for someone who’s worthy. 

In a Burning Room 

Trust. 
I built her once. 

Cemented into her foundation 
was time well spent, 
patience, 
bloody knees well bent 
upon pavements
to plead my case
for a love that lied latent
for you. 

I prayed
for my emotions
not to be preyed upon. 
Prayed, 
for my heart’s strings
not to be played upon, 
for some
altar of a heart
I could be saved upon but,
I was wrong. 

Altars are made of stone
not to build faith upon. 
So how could I expect yours
to hold mine dear 
like a sacred song
full of promise,
full of truth.

If I’m honest, 
and I were you, 
I would’ve called it quits
from “Hello, 
how are you?” 
“I’m…?  
not interested, 
but thank you.” 

Truth is 
you would’ve still had me at
hell no, 
but at least
I could blame myself
for wanting to be the pyromaniac
trying to light
the nothingness between us,
for trying to be the flame
your wick of attention
would never give a flicker of notice. 

I guess
what I’m trying to say is:
there’d be no museum
of betrayed memories to walk through
if you 
had any appreciation
for the art of honesty. 

I hung portraits 
of my intentions
as tokens 
of every act towards you
so you’d already know
the inspiration
behind every stroke. 

Little did I know 
you had me painting
masterful illusions of our future;
permitted me to sell
these fanciful delusions
to those who only wished the best for us. 

Little did I know, 
the only image I ever sold
was solely of me
slow dancing
in a burning room. 

Connecting Flights

When her emotions
feel like they’ve been 
stranded at an airport
for half a lifetime
waiting for the next connecting flight, 
hold her hand
and don’t let go. 

She won’t need your words so, 
can them if you can
to the nearest bin
and deposit hope
into her lap
with a sincere smile. 

Let your eyes
voice reassurance that she
won’t be one of many
to compete for your attention;
may it express
that your itinerary maps a future
she can forget her past in, 
that you won’t abandon her 
for taking longer than most
in the security line. 

She’s
checking for explosives. 
Patting you down
for reasons you might detonate today,
or tomorrow. 
Understand, 
she may be used to seeing things
blow up in her face, 
but that doesn’t mean she likes it. 
No part of her
has adjusted to find beauty
in the flames. 

So when her touch
feels like it’s tired
of bracing for impact,
embrace her soul
and be gentle. 
Be patient. 

When the time is right, 
you’ll know. 
She’ll look back at you 
as if she’s found
all the pieces of herself
and you
have redeemed them
from the land of lost baggage claims. 

You won’t understand why, 
don’t ask. 
Let her love you
in the silence
of your heart’s connecting flights. 

She said…

She said,
she’s never been
held like this before but,
not verbally.

It was in the way her
hands glided up
and down,
gripping enticement.

The way her fingers
ghost walked
down the corridor of my spine,
flanked my sides,
continued the aerial assault
on my senses
with nothing pretentious.

I could tell,
even her shadow
wanted to be one with mine
with a union that cloned
our identities,
so seamlessly.

An amalgam
of mind
and flesh,
soul,
and breath,
heart
and chest;
a rhythm
we meshed
beautifully.

Somewhere
her inhibitions
lost their footing.
Her nails,
clawed for reasons
to let go,
found none
to drive her to safety
only satiety.

She converted my embrace
into home,
willingly placed herself
under house arrest
in my arms,
til she can trust
another’s touch
won’t leave her more judged
than justified,
more livid
than loved,
more broken
than she was found.

Worth a Welcome 

My presence
seems to have the power
to abracadabra her cheeks
into levitating
several stories high
above her worst days.
I’m
her natural botox
outside the box;
negativity
not included.  

I, pixie dust
the concern on her brow
to accelerate from
zero to gone and she
still won’t admit
I’m the cause of all this but,
I kinda like it that way. 

Her eyes
flirt more honestly
than her lips would permit but,
at least I know
what her soul looks like
without the filters. 

On occasion,
she invites me
through her optical windows;
helps me climb
over her pane and trusts
that I won’t tear out the floorboards
that keep her human like:
her unbroken belief
that a man’s hands
were created for more than
breaking,
more than bashing,
bruising,
blasting
in and out
of a woman’s heart,
although the evidence
for this myth of a man is lacking. 

You see she’s
trusted others before
who’ve polished their
devilish pitchforks
into silverware;
thrusted her trust
onto some cutting board
to dice and mince her love
until she could no longer
discern her reflection. 

I don’t have to tell you
she’s been misused
when her best smile
looks like a hand-me-down
from abuse. 

And that’s exactly why
her faith in me
scares me,
abruptly erupts my core
with how sure she is
that I’m not composed of failure,
that I’m not the man
to fail her. 

So I stand quick
to hail her,
not for the struggles
she has suffered,
not for the battles
she has braved,
not for the whips
she has weathered
but for the belief
that she has saved…
for someone like me.

Someone
who could barely juggle
the suggestions from
right shoulder angel
and left shoulder demon.
I still
have no idea
what you see in me… 

But for what it’s worth
I’ll love you like
the last man standing
to prove your myth of a man to be true. 

P.S:

When she looks at you
through her exit wounds,
give her a reason
as to why you’re worth a welcome,
it’ll look a lot like
why you deserve to stay.