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Warning Signs

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I want you to understand
the plunge you are about to take.
I want you to taste the blood
on your tongue and feel the sting
of a bitten lip before you choose
a girl with as many sharp edges
as this one.

We will not be easy. I will not be easy.
We will be thick bones and sinew.
We will be white knuckles.
We will be the imprint of my spine
down the length of your stomach
because pressing a month of
good nights into a single evening
leaves scars to trace your teeth across.


You will not be able to stop my hands
shaking during hospital visits. I’ll remember
every word you say to save and add to
the constellations that circle my neck.
Each one a red flag for a kiss-
morning, make-up, goodbye.

You will hold me too tightly
at train stations and I’ll be exhausted
every morning because your breathing
was a lullaby I never wanted to cease.
I will miss you in the strangest of places
and you will not know what to say to
‘I’m in the library and I miss you.’
Even the silence
will remind me of your mouth.

I need you to read
these warning signs,
and swallow them down
like painkillers.
Because I will sink into you
and you will want to smooth
my sharp edges into sea-glass,
and I’m afraid I may
open my arms
and welcome you, as the beach
welcomes a storm.




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