Discussions for Later Dates by Lake Vargas

tw: child abuseSomeone hurt you, too. When I was small
he hit me, just on the backs of my hands.
They were blushing, unfurling into roses.
These things happen often. First, I stood
in the corner like a lighthouse dragging
a rind of white over an ocean that was
yet to reflect. He said don’t cry because
it does nothing, but once I hiccuped out
a study I’d read in TIME — tears couldn’t
glitch my film toward, but they serve
as the body’s wax seal. After, the corner
would fold me into her: white wallpaper
with golden specks. I watched the broken
clock in the dining room. Its second hand
swung forward and back again, a child too
scared to greet the cursive numbers on
the playground. And then, my father would
bellow for me; my sore, socked feet led
me to him. You know I love you, right?
Soon, I stopped nodding. Soon, I stopped
being so young. To any man reading this,
you’ve gotta gravitate from my hands.
Try my head or stomach. Send my breath
scattering from the rafters of my body,
and I’ll time my exhalations to yours.

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