I Am Not Warm, I Am the Bottom of the Ocean

If I come to you and we talk there will be a moment where we are in a room acknowledging each other for the first time since then and we won’t know if we should hug because we don’t know how to be in a room together and not touch each other just a little, and I don’t want to live through that, so I cannot come.

If we sit across a table from one another, it will just be me clutching a cup of coffee so that there will be something to do with my hands, listening to all the ways in which you could not, were not ready, wouldn’t, can’t, and I will only hear lists of reasons explaining why I was not enough, why I was not good enough for you to try just a little, and I will never know what it is you are really wanting to tell me.

I will never know what you are saying, because I already know in my bones all the things the rhythm of you has told me for nine months. Nine months is a very long time. It is enough time to create and produce an entire human being, or grow four and a half inches of hair, or watch a butterfly make and emerge from a cocoon twenty five times. It is long enough to escape you with only pieces of my own heart in my pockets like a thief. If I come, it will just be me listening to you tell me how hard I am to love, over and over, again and again, and you have said it enough times already to sink into my core, for me to believe it wholly. It lives in my sternum.

All I know is your rhythm; there are no more words, not for you. There are no possible things you could say to tell me that you love me, that you admire me, that I was ever precious to you, and I suppose you returned again and again, but even animals will instinctively crawl toward warm safe places to sleep.

But I am not warm. I am made of water and ghosts and drownings and salt, and if you wanted to say anything to me at this point, you would have to do it by bringing me offerings of the souls of sailors lost at sea, and pearls wrestled from oysters, and the entrails of the whale that swallowed me whole. You would have to lay these things at an altar for me, there would have to be blood. There would have to be old songs and shark teeth and dancing and you would have to find a way to make me see you, and you could not, because you are not a fighter. You take what is handed to you, but you do not crack the skin of the sabra fruit, you do not decipher codes, you do not scale city walls, you do not traverse moats, you take what is easy, what is left at your doorstep, and I will never be left at your doorstep again; I am not a kitten.

I am not warm, I am the bottom of the ocean. You cannot tell me you love me because you would have to swim there to do it, you would have to give me ancient magic, you would have to apologize to my ancestors. You cannot tell me you love me because you do not know what that means. You cannot tell me you love me because you are not capable of it, because I have never watched you love anyone enough to decide to choose kindness. You cannot tell me you love me because you have told me over and over and it has still not made you loving.

I am not warm, I am searing hot, I am the center of a volcano, I am enough to carve homes in rock. I am not warm, I am not for you to sleep nestled against after limping back from your last failure, I am not your safety net. I am not your blanket. I am not your mother. I am a thousand poems and earthquake kisses and big laughing, I am the moon and I am smooth whiskey, and I am the pages of burned books, and I am thick, whipped honey.

If I come now, you will just tell me words, so many of them, and they will be useless and flat, because all you have ever had is words, and I am a writer; I have enough for both of us. So I will do it for you. I will read the lists of reasons I was too difficult to love, and I will coldly remind myself that you never promised me rose gardens, that I ought to have known better. I will do this until it becomes an anthem, and one day, I will wake up and I will have forgotten why I ever wanted words from you when I deserve fire, and you are not Prometheus.

Old spirits don’t wait for you to arrive, they do not leave the door unlocked, they do not leave suggestion boxes in your office, they do not beckon to you, you have to demand their attention. This is why there are drums and dancing. It used to be that in order to make god listen, you had to sacrifice your best goat and wail and beg. You’d have to trick them into hearing you. You’d have to build altars and lure them with blood and teeth and bone and chants and the heads of your enemies and all of songs. You had to go to them at the center of the forest, you had to convince them not to devour you, you had to get them to listen to your requests. No answered prayer is one you have not bled for. Prayers are only words until you are willing to go meet the creature itself.

I am a creature. I carry inside of me all those drums and dances, I am not a person. I am a tempest.

There are no words for you any longer, and I cannot hear you, and I am magic and I am magnets, and if you cannot make me hear you, you have nothing I want.

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