leave the leverage

i need to learn to leave the scales
the weighing of equal deeds & favors
behind.

i need to adapt to a world
where i cant feel guilty
everytime i ask you to attend a family function
like its one more tally against me
for being weak enough to want you there.

i need to accept my right to feel
like i need you
even if in my mind i havent done enough
to deserve it

we may trade in different currencies
but they’re exchanged for the same reason
i need to remember
that to turn our gestures
into leveraged goods
is to make it a transaction
& not an act of grace.

His & Hers

“there will be two sets of knives
one for you, & one for me,” he says
because he’s seen how haphazardly i stack the dishes in the dish rack
& leave the drying towel unevenly folded on the counter

he’s noticed my frizzy fly-away hairs
that i wear proudly in protest to hair spray & pomade
& my black eyeliner that pools in the corner of my eyes
when i’ve yawned too much on our red-eye flights

he’s observed how my toiletries slowly claim unused counter space
& how he wakes up with my fine, long, hair
woven between his toes, & the fibers of his blanket

he doesnt have to tell me why
there will be two sets of knives
i know all the reasons why.

what i dont know
is where the compartmentalizing
of his & mine ends
& where the sharing begins.

there are things i will probably never have again
now that i’m with you.
i will never have to dread
waking up to passive aggressive texts,
& the onslaught of angry, unproductive back & forth digital arguing.
i will never have to question who’s blowing up your phone,
& pulling your loyalty, your attention from me.
i will never have to imagine all my dirty secrets
that you’re airing out over drinks with the boys.

you don’t realize the bad that you’re missing
when all you’ve been showered with
is consistent
unconditional
ground-shaking
good.

“so you mean.. a mature relationship?” you ask, smirking.
“no. i mean… the kind of relationship i didn’t know i deserved, but was looking for, my whole life.”

doing life over sushi

he starts his prayer
before devouring his eight plates of sushi
as i match him– with my measly four

he starts his prayer
with thanking God
for getting “to do life with” me.

& i smile
with my eyes closed
& squeeze his hand a little tighter
because that’s the prayer i say
before i fall asleep.
before the asks,
for keeping him healthy
& happy
& safe.

they say God hears consistency
if that is true
then your name
must be the most prominent thing
God has heard from me
in years.

renovations

ive watched the video you sent me
the tour of the house you’re helping to renovate
you carefully map out the progress of each room
i listened to you explain trimming,
& lighting,
& dry wall,
& contracting.

& i may not understand all of that stuff,
but you in your element
always makes my heart happy.

but that isnt the reason why i watched it 27 times and counting.
when you say,
“and im excited that probably sometime in the future..
we’re gonna do this for us
hopefully. i love you.”
my heart goes all a flutter.
& we both know its been fluttering,
for a very long time now
consistently
unrelentingly.
but now it feels like its fluttering to a rhythm
that we both embody.

& it feels so damn good.

the ways in which he loves

He always stands in front of me on descending escalators,
& behind me on ascending ones
because he knows I have a propensity for falling.

He packs an overcoat even though he knows he’ll never use it,
because he’d rather carry the extra garment
& give me the option of having an added layer to protect me from the cold.

He sends me videos of himself,
welcoming me to whatever country,
state, city I’m flying into
so that however bad of a flight I had,
it’s always remedied with his bright smile.

He writes me notes with the sweetest sentiments
& sends them via email when he knows im still sleeping
so as not to wake me with a text notification.

These are the gestures
however small or large they appear
that lets me know
he chooses me.
each and every day.

all in

my reddening eyes betrayed me
with their sloppy wet lashes
before i could articulate
my disappointment.

not in you.
let the record state that.

“i just dont want you to get so lost in this, that if it doesn’t work out… it will destroy you.”

“how cocky” i thought
“how presumptuous!?”

but as my body reacted
before my mind could process
i realized that at the heart of it all,
my disappointment was in myself

because you were right.
& i didnt know how to convince you
that it wouldnt be so.

/ˈɛs.kɪ.moʊæ.liːˈ.uːt/

i know that eskimos dont actually have
a hundred words for “snow.”

but i think that myth is the only way i know how
to articulate these moments
when i forget
that what i know to be true
the basis of my future-making decisions
& my unwavering faith

may not be the same
for you.

here i am,
assuming “snow” just means winter
& powdered white landscapes
but for you,
its based on context
& texture
& speed at which it’s falling.

that isn’t to say
we disagree on the sky being blue
or the moon meaning night
or “i love you” to be anything short of what it is.

For me, “all in” is no holds barred
no restrictions
regardless of what life throws at us,
im dedicating myself to this completely.

For you, “all in” translates to:
from what you know of me thus far,
from all youve grown to love
you’re in it. that much you can commit to.
but there is still life
& obstacles
& curved balls
that may change the concept of
“soft, delicate, beautiful” snow
into “icy, hazardous, dangerous” snow–
& that kind of shift demands reassessing of “all in.”

i wish i knew
all the variations of the word
before committing my whole heart
to the only translation ive ever known.

PIC+FA

“Just.. you always have to be in each other’s corner. no matter what. you have to be that for him, but also know that he’s that for you. it’s wherever you are, whatever time it is, no matter what you’re feeling — you’re there. in the other’s corner.

 

.. oh. and laugh. a lot. make each other laugh.”

– P