I thought I had known him through you.
In your selfish, selfless forgiveness.
In your dirty hands, diligent,
digging a hole in the cool shade of your cruel world
to bury me in.
In the mystery I thought I was unfolding.
In your anger.
Your eyes, the freckled floodgates-
How they could never open, never let go of the pressure.
Like you might deflate and fly and fall without it.
But there was grace, and hope too.
The softest timbre of your voice, saved just for me.
When you spoke the words sounded like verse:
patient, honest, clever. I thought I heard him there, in our plans.
You did too.
Your guilt burned its way through every kiss.
Our spit, a cocktail of resentment; I still taste it.
We were love as we knew it. We were the best
we could do.
It was unfair, but we did it. And I’d still do it,
I was wrong.
Christmas Eve. Our first goodbye.
I knew him then- only then. For the first time.
In the pain of a divine, self inflicted punishment,
I felt him. his little finger reaching down
to rest on my chest, listening to the catch of my breath,
while the pressure wavers,
as if even he is unsure, like me, if I deserve it-
but still pressing, nonetheless.
Isabella Lopez (she/her) is an English major at Temple University. Much of her writing is inspired by her experiences as a queer woman, dealing with mental illness, and rediscovering religion. When she is not oversharing online, Isabella is probably binging teen soap operas, playing with her dog, or preparing for her 2030 senate campaign.