But If You Were to Stay

By Kaitlin Meilert

This is typical: not the falling, for I have practiced restraint, and not the wanting, for I lack the need—it is the unattainable that consumes me.
Call me a masochist, but getting everything one wants gets dull, my dear—you are anything but that.
Never mind telling me not to fall for you: I tripped, stumbled, and crashed the second you said you’re
              leaving, I can’t have you.
But if you were to stay:

would you be with me and hold my hand and call me “dear” and push back my hair so you can see me
              better, blue and grey;
would you hold me together through the nights when the days are long and tear me apart;
wake me before the light hits your eyes so that I can watch the light hit your eyes;
would you shower me with sunlight and grass and the strings of violins and sweep away the vicious
              ants that nibble at my skin;
recite to me the words of Whitman and Thoreau, whose wanderings you crave, and my beloved Plath,
              whose dark inhabitings enthrall me and I would force upon you;
would you drift me into sleep with your hypnotizing hands searching every inch of my body for open
              wounds you might find a glimpse of me in?
For you, I would allow it.

Say it’s so, and if it is, take my heart, just for a little while.
Don’t worry over the bruises and holes your impending absence will have on it—
it is already gone, has already felt the deepest rips and pulls a heart can feel.
Cut it out if you want, wear it around your neck as a trophy or trinket: I do not feel it,
but it feels you and wants to beat
with you, someone who will know it better and care for it better and follow it to everywhere I could
              not take it.

I know we are different (not surprisingly so, for I am a firm believer in “opposites attract”),
and for that, I want you more: your everything that is my not
              and vice versa—
for my obscurity, you are luminous; for my silence, you are the cave’s echo;
for my shy hesitance, you are bold and sure; for my narcissism, you are magnanimous;
your want for hopeful lyrics and upbeat tempos is my desperate need for tragedy; your words bubble
              effusively against my tethered tongue;
your looking forward is my falling back; your life is my death;
my thought, your action; your lips, my pen; my heart lies still, merely pumps the blood through my
              veins, while yours beats like wings that fly off from my limbs, stubbornly rooted in the ground.

I am drawn to you like the banal moth clings to the hackneyed flame.

Oh, my dear, I do believe, perhaps too violently,
that in another life, you would have been mine and I would have been yours and our hands would sweat
              glue and our faces would exchange faces and our limbs would trade limbs but our eyes
              would stay put, preoccupied with the reflections of us painted in them.


Kaitlin Meilert holds a BA in English Writing & Rhetoric from St. Edward’s University. Her work has previously been published in the Sorin Oak Review. Kaitlin currently works at a tech startup in Flagstaff, AZ but continues to explore her creative side by writing and sharing her poems on her blog, Lady in the Pines.

Photo by Reeya Kay.

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