Crossed Out

The lines on my palms were lines no man in my past had found the courage to cross. They held my hands softly – whispered my name. I’ve learned a lot about the mouths that could not contain my thunder; the tongues that had tried to soften my vowels down to smooth stones; the lips that had never curved at the sharp spears of all my letters – not even when I was spelling l-o-v-e on their backs.

I’ve spent too much time thinking of a word that’s almost regret. A word for all the years I spent my beauty on men who could only recognize it when I was small, or growing smaller – a retreating back in their dreams, always leaving. A word that’s so close to wasted it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. A word so close to sorry I still say it to myself.

There is no lesson here. Sometimes I wish there were. Want is a wild animal I let into my house and then cried at the upturned furniture. I don’t know what I expected. Time healed all my wounds, but it couldn’t repair the broken lamps. I had to do that myself – over months, sometimes years – picking up shards of glass that felt too much like my own l-o-v-e cutting through the lines on my palms that were never crossed – only crossed out.

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