I Don’t Want You to Love Me by Richaundra Thursday

I am not asking you to love me.

You will think that I am and that’s not your fault:

On my knees, begging to please you, to make you happy;

I don’t blame you for mistaking my want for your want for wonton-ness.

 

Believe it or not, I’m not looking for love.

When I slip into the collar, the metaphorical leather is more armor than consent.

Your attention is aspartame and maybe if I consume enough,

I’ll forget I’m affectionately diabetic.

 

You’ll be forgiven for mistaking my request for definition for one of intimacy.

I’m a bogeyman, a protopathetic shoggoth,

I’m a steampunk fantasy; i will expand or contract to fit whatever corset 

Or airship balloon you want to stuff me into, not quite what Bruce meant 

When he advised being water, you’re a pool for me to drown myself in, 

I’d love you like being waterboarded

 

If I WAS asking you to love me, you’d know because

I would warn that you’ll get blood on you, 

And neither of us will get to decide whose;

 

That afterwards it will be an episode of CSI,

All repackaged and sexy, with none of the smell,

Lit under UV similes and sent to allusionist labs:

Returned promptly because the imagination has unlimited funding

And we only have 42 minutes before I find a new monster to unmask.

 

I would say we were Luke and Mara Jade in that you will be wiped from existence 

And I will continue to anger entitled white men for not being what they want me to be.

 

I would say we were Rogue and Gambit in that I’m only as strong as the people 

I pickpocket personality from and I’m hoping if you’re a tool enough, 

I won’t feel guilty when I fly off.

 

I would make monster metaphors because, while I want to make a cynical commentary 

On the honesty of relationships being based on consumption, blood, bone, marrow, 

Every lover an invited incubus, every date a ghost story in potential, 

The truth is, I always believed that every romance was a redemption story: 

Returned mermaids and vampires their souls, tamed beasts, quieted demons 

And I’m not dubbing you to go challenge them, not because I don’t think 

You’re up to the task, but because honestly, I trust them more than you.

 

And if you’re thinking, ‘That’s a lot of conflicting messages,’

Know that my inconstancy is not a lack of sincerity, only identity.

 

I am not asking you to love me, I’m asking you to create me.

But we don’t want that either. I am the princess, and the witch AND the dragon 

AND the tower all at once and you will be staggered, cursed, burned 

And thrown from a story we are both just extras in and I have worked 

Too hard for too long to build myself from razor wire spider webs and the softness 

Of mushroom clouds, to be GOOD, if not whole.

 

So thank you for noticing and maybe even caring and if you want to stay, 

I promise there will be wine and video games and being cornered into listening 

To poetry you will never have to worry is about you. 

I want your thoughts and your smiles, your gas money and your leftover hoodies. 

But I don’t want you to love me.

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