When I think about you trying to open me
I think of a can of tomato soup
It’s the only thing you can afford when you’re so broke
You let strangers into your body.
I think of my can opener, how I can never find it in the gore of underused utensils.
I think of the rust of its blade and how it takes me several tries to open
You tell me I need to relax,
To lay down,
To live in the moment
But I don’t know how to.
I’ve never done any of those things well because uncertainty feels
Like parachuting into a volcano.
And I can’t relax around people I know let alone someone I just met,
You say I’m scared and you are so right.
I’m scared of what comes after a night when the stars have been plucked out the sky.
Scared of your body like it’s a war zone and every bone could be my murderer.
Scared of love because I know I will break and I know you won’t hear me fall.
In the morning, you are still here but I am not mad because an empty bed hurts more than my tender flesh.
I grab my blanket from the floor and wrap it around you.
I walk to the kitchen and wash my hands that had become arthritic from pushing you away.
I sit on the couch and drink cheap coffee.
I curl my toes into my feet and shut my eyes.
And I act like this has not happened this time or any time before,
Like when my eyelids close, there is a pulsing light,
scanning the waves for life
in this dark ocean.