It’s Okay

You could hear it in her voice. 
Love,  
could still be detected 
in the undertones but
her tired
was seeping through her syllables,
her weary
leaking through her vowels.  

Drip.  
Drip.  
Dripping through the ceiling
of her patience, 
collecting
in a bucket brimming
with reasons to give up; 
she  
was a drop away from spill,
a touch away from splatter. 

Normally, 
she could summon enough magic
to levitate her smile 
above the skyscrapers of her burdens. 
Normally, 
she had a scripture 
tucked under her breath
to whisper consolation. 

Normally, 
she could pretend 
that spreading herself thin and
running on the exhaust 
of yesterday’s hope that today 
would be better, 
was enough pep
to get her through. 
Normally, 
she had more faith
at the end of her day
than day
at the end of her faith. 

Normally, 
she didn’t wish
to be normal. 
She accepted that life
was carving out her precious
to make room for everyone’s hurt
but hers it seemed. 
She understood
she was given a mountain
to show others it could be climbed, 
but some days
she doesn’t feel like climbing. 

Somedays
she doesn’t feel like hero. 
Somedays
she doesn’t want to be nominated
to be the emblem of strength. 
Somedays, 
she just needs
a moment to cry, 
just needs
a moment to breathe,
just needs
a moment to wallow 
in her vulnerabilities. 

Just give her a moment
to be human.

Please.

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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. 

Road Trip

He held her, 
like the shuddering soup
in a ceramic bowl
gone cold
on a road trip with potholes;
hands trembling 
with mistakes, 
steady 
with his effort
to hold her together. 

Things 
were bound
to get messy. 
She
was bound to escape,
but he’d love her just the same
only she needed not
a love that played safe.

He held her,  
like the moment
you jump off plane
and dive into sky. 
He was clutching for her life
as much as he thought
she was for his but, 
she fell in love with
free falling into herself, 
when nothing about his actions 
ever made her feel
more grounded. 

His words
were parachute, 
his hands
confounded, 
his touch
felt like calculus, 
rigid
and rugged. 
Tender 
is the lesson you learn
when you kamikaze your heart
to spark another’s 
into flames. 

But love felt
rehearsed here.  
He said
all the right things
at all the wrong times;
but could never
nurse her hurt here. 
He spoke
often to her mind, 
when she craved a whisper
to her heart. 

So if you’re going to love her, 
love her bold. 
If you’re going to heal her, 
heal her whole. 
Give her something 
to hold on to. 
Give her something 
to believe 
that there’s more spine 
behind the letters you construct, 
than the bones
you align in your closet. 

She’s aching to trust in a future
that doesn’t resemble
familiar road trips
that left her stranded beside herself,
hitchhiking her way
back through the potholes 
she spilled herself into.
At least she knows
where to find herself,
do you?

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. 

Do it For You

You decided
to break my heart 
before we met. 
I decided
to love you still
with the pieces left. 

You said
you needed to do things
for you, 
for your happiness. 
I agreed. 
I too, 
needed confirmation 
that your smile wasn’t residual
to the afterthoughts of him. 

You made it clear
that a friendship
was what you needed,
one where trust
wouldn’t be ceded. 
I obliged
to hold your heart
til it hop scotched 
into a notch of love
it could be itself around. 

You, 
sounded more
bothered than okay, 
more flustered than
nothing’s wrong, 
more agitated than
you’re fine
but maybe, 
maybe I shouldn’t 
want to talk about it either. 

I’m not a knight
but a bleeder,
not a hero
but a seeker of
what more could I do
to help you forget him? 

What enchantments can I use
short of black magic
to pry your thoughts loose
from leeching on to him? 
How often must I remind you
that your soul
is far too beautiful
to keep cracking
over his faults?
How long
will you remain victim
to his vault 
of emotional assault? 

Please,
come back to me. 
I need you to remember
who you are,
need you to remember
that love is a promise
you made to yourself first,
need you to remember 
your worth 
will always be more valuable
than his barcodes
of depreciation. 

I beg of you, 
before he shackles 
the rest of your existence
to the rust of things you once were, 
to picture frames
of smiles you once knew;
I implore you 
to find yourself
in your scars, 
heal yourself
past the wounds, 
and love yourself
for you. 

Fall in Love

She
made me promise
to hold true to my word
five minutes to one a.m,
four hours to the end
of my circadian rhythm,
three parted heart emojis later
on a night her mind seeks to savor 
something to salvage
from watching her team lose.

I was told:
“Every time you don’t win, 
a part of you loses.”
Loses fight, 
lose grit. 
Loses heart, 
lose grip
on hoping against the odds,
that she’s someone
worth
loving. 

She’s hoping 
that someone will put
a check in the win column
next to her name;
that her heart
won’t be the last pick
in the rough draft
to better relationships;
that her soul
will stop feeling caught
between encounters with third base
when she desperately
just wants
to make
it
home.  

Check if you like me,
leave blank if you don’t. 
She slid this note to her crush;
his mouth said that he can’t, 
his eyes said that they won’t. 
She is so done
with rejection, 
so done
with losing. 

Fast forward
to her last relationship
and she’s not taking an L
for no one. 

This beautiful, 
mermaid princess 
would rather swim alone
then drown in complacency, 
uncertainty
and a shipwreck
of good intentions.

She now lives
in the ocean
of self-acceptance, 
basks in waves
of self love. 

My dear, 
you need not these hands 
to make you whole, 
need not a poem 
to reconstruct your confidence, 
need not a man
to help you heal. 

If “I love you” 
no longer sounds holy
from his lips,
if “you’re beautiful” 
seems laced 
with insincerity, 
then fall in love
with the way
you whisper them to yourself.
Fall in love
with your insecurities, 
fall in love
with all the reasons
they said you weren’t enough, 
fall in love
with you. 

You Owe it to Yourself

Let’s go. 

Doesn’t matter the place.
We can wrestle over details later.
For right now,
do yourself a favor and
ride out on out of here,
to your favorite hide out
miles south of fear
or northbound
to a little town
to disappear
so I could repeat
our meet and greet. 

I’ll reintroduce myself
as your cowboy,
your eyes
will blink themselves
into my sunrise
so you’ll always know that home
is a faceful of sunset
and a smile full of my pride. 

I’ll lick the postage
you stamp the seal of approval.
Let’s work
on the removal of you
from the mundane. 

We’ll saddle
your imagination,
book inspiration
into your now to take flight
upon planes of existence
that knows no resistance
to your determination. 

You,
you need to know
that you’re free;
that the weight of your obligations
are proportionate
to how much you tip your scale;
that your excuses
only feel like handcuffs
til you decide
you’ve had enough. 

I need you to know
that you don’t have to go
anywhere life may lead;
your heart
doesn’t have to kiss the floor
every time it trips
over something handsome;
that your dreams
don’t need to learn French
to consult more ceilings. 

I need you to know,
you owe no soul apologies,
reasons for being:
late,
early,
on time
on your days off. 

Off days
will feel like
they’re on time
to being early;
your being
will always be late
for no reason
but when your soul,
throws a manhunt for apologies
to betray itself,
I need you to know
you owe it to yourself
to never let go
of you.