The Sweet Truth

I didn’t know how to clear the dust from my mouth.
I wrote so many letters begging for someone to love me,
as if I was an unlovable thing,
as if everyone I met would need convincing.
I spent twenty-six years trying to figure out how to use my heart
for more than sorry — these sad words —
the same song I kept singing in my sleep;
my tongue not good enough for the knots I tried to tie it in.
I’ve spent too long living on my knees,
eating scraps of affection out of the hands that have
dug into my flesh until it bruised.
I have kept those secret blacks and blues —
bit them back and swallowed them.
I wish more and more I could’ve accepted the sweet
— the people who had climbed my trellis, despite the thorns,
and tried to recite their poetry while my ears backwards bloomed
back into my head and made me deaf to their longing.
No one could make me believe I was beautiful —
that was something I had to do for myself
— still have to do for myself, day after day,
with the mouth I had used for little more than denying
those who never needed convincing
and had loved me all the same.

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