To You, Persephone
by Tommie Brown
So, girl, your heart is broken.
Your heart is broken and love no longer looks like shades of pale pinks and magenta – it looks like choking.
It looks like scraped knees and maps turned upside down.
You have lost your way.
Just when you thought you knew your way around so well,
You found that you are at point A and the only point B you’ve ever known is their collar bone.
You are deserted.
Your body is a city made up of too many limbs and dead languages.
All of the traffic lights at the intersections of your veins are fleshing red –
begging your blood to
stop pumping to your heart.
This is not what you expected girl, was it?
Your aching is not poetry, your emptiness will not compose sonnets;
You are a tragedy.
It feels like the whole world is watching you crumble under stage lights,
Begging for an encore.
You are now amidst the rest of us who know how it feels to be haunted by ghosts of loves we could not resuscitate.
But before you get comfortable in being terrified of darkness,
Girl, you are invited to the exorcism.
Grab a rosary.
Tie it to the frame of the bed he touched you on, don’t wash the sheets.
Collect the eyelashes he abandoned there along with you for sacrifice.
Sow together stitches of his clothes you kept, dowse them in your blood dripping from the wounds he inflicted.
This is what they called black magic -
Burning witches at the stake for knowing how to heal themselves,
& don’t you remember your grandmother always telling you there was voodoo in your veins?
Do not fool yourself. Missing him is not a religion.
Holding your breath for his return is not what they meant when they said faith is believing in what you cannot see.
Draw an outline around his absence with chalk – this is a murder scene.
This is death, with no resurrection.
Fill the bathtub up with holy water and sit there until your fingertips go numb, forgetting what his skin felt like pressed underneath them.
Hold your breath underwater until your body refuses drowning, reminding you that every second it is fighting for you to exist.
When you come up gasping for air, notice how good it feels to be alive again.
Girl, you have been baptized.
Dry yourself off.
Comb the tangles out of your hair,
Put on chapstick just to lick it off,
Reminding yourself that you still taste like baking cherry pies.
Drink warm chai tea – you deserve to know how it feels to swallow something Sweeter, that goes down smoother, than all the bitter words he left you with.
When his name is on the tip of your tongue, shove it in your cheek.
Do not remember him fondly -
The scar in his eyebrow was never a metaphor for his resilience,
It was just the sign you ignored that he was damaged goods.
You were his matchstick love.
He only had the courage to hold you so long as he never had to feel your burn.
But do not persuade yourself into making a home inside of your temporary smoke.
Baby, the only thing you and him were ever meant to be was