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Experience This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

two girls linked loosely by a chord of family blood
one heart kept safe from the other
till once, without warning, sister translates into company
suddenly, they notice one another
  one girl is the colder, an amateur at closeness
she hoards inhibitions like doors without hinges
but she is given a smile, and keeps it like a key
she begins to grow goosebumps, like the first sign of the spring
slowly life grows warmer for the cold and hidden heart
a kiss on the forehead is warmer than she thought
each touch is logged in the history of her skin
and happiness shocks her with lightning fingertips
for a lifetime she had locked a safe around her heart
but love means compromise; she can’t keep the safety on
two halves invest in merging, and are sewn into a whole
such work is never flawless; stitches are left visible
by the time the work is done, her safecode has been reset
changed before she can realize it, or give her consent
her heart is now stolen, living off her sister’s pulse
still, secure in her choices, she throws doors open
certain that there is more of this on the other side
more of what she has, more of what she’s been given
the love she so dreaded has reshaped her reality
she learns adaptation, studies intimacy
till once, without warning, the floor drops and disappears
touches, smiles, and happiness evaporate like myths
as dust settles on the chaos of a relationship
with skin still stinging from the slap of no affection
she locks her heart away once more, ferociously
she shrink-wraps it in the wisdom of experience
and heals it with promises that next time she’ll be smarter
when a friendly face comes to call, begging and offering love
she won’t open the door




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