"Lullabies" by Shelley Valdez

I.          the beginning of our radio silence was like swallowing a shooting star
                      i didn’t know how to digest the sparks.
                 my heart went up in flames.
                      but instead of turning to ash,
                      it burned straight through my chest
                                beating and breathing and bleeding and making a mess
 
     II.         when people ask what you were to me,
                      i never really know what to say
                 (you were poetry) (you were waking) (you were wishbones)
                      (and now)
                           (you are unfinished business)
 
     III.        i’m sorry i was such a shitty dance partner
                 and i’m sorry i never kissed you
                 and i’m sorry that my arms could never
                      be the space to hold your dark
 
     IV.        i still go back to the night of Almost Lovers
                  (you were the only girl in a tuxedo)
                        (you were the belle of every ball)
                  you never believed in fairytales the way i did
                       our spells began at midnight,
                                  and expired at the dawn
                        when you slipped the silver from my shoulders
                        and took the butterflies from my hair
                             i forgot what it was
                                  to have lungs

     V.          i remember Sidonie’s yellow kitchen
                  and vanilla ice cream with honey
                             i remember your soft footsteps
                  and how you couldn’t meet my eyes
                                  i said,       “what are you thinking about?”
                                  you said, “kissing you
                        in the end, all we did was hold each other
                                            but it has always been enough

     VI.         as we slept on the floor  
                        and as you sang me to sleep
                   i thought we’d never see another lonely holiday
                        after greeting Halloween without you,
                        i decided that the      living
                             were much more haunting
                                  than the              dead

     VII.        i learned    the hard way
                   that      hesitation      tastes like      expectation
                   and burns twice as bad
                        i should have known that being   
                        “friends with
                                  sexual tension”          
                                  can only last so long
                    by July, you’d find a home in someone’s shoulder
                                        but it wouldn’t have been       mine
                

     VIII.       the worst is that i can’t hate her(not when she   keepsyou  safe)
                   and what could i have offered, but a blooming,
                   bruising heart      what could i have offered but
                   a sometimes wounded wing
                             you deserve so much more than my
                             whirlwind-shaking-skin       but even then,
                        it is a privilege to be your Almost.
                                  it is a privilege to be your Anything.

     IX.         i started listening to alt-j songs again the other day.
                        for the first time in a long time, hearing them sing
                             “and she needs you
                             this is from matilda
                                  didn’t make me want to cry
                   i know now that the aching
                        isn’t as loud as it was before
                             (it is quiet chaos without you)

     X.          your name is an echo,
                        a meditation,
                        a lullaby.
                        from the back of my throat to the purse of my lips,
                        you are becoming the sound of the cosmos.
                        you are beginning to hold things together
                        in the way that you’ve torn me apart