Carried Away by featured artist Jamila Clarke
You were melt-in-my-mouth—
Tuesdays under the sky.
I picked your words like
fruit from the vine;
we were decadent.
Stretched out in the sunshine-touch
of each other’s lips,
your skin hot like a Texas summer,
I could have spent forever
tucked against the apple orchard of your chest.
My sundress hiked up around my thighs.
The two of us, laughing, with
“Someday” on our tongues—dripping down our chins,
all gold and vibrant.
We were ripe for eating.
We were sticky-sweet.
We were less Forever than we thought.
And when the cold set in,
I was still eating apples
even after you’d dug up your roots and gone.
(You said I held my hands too still.)
I wasn’t doing nothing.
I was putting down seeds
and waiting for Spring.
Don’t you dare, for one minute,
believe that my kindness makes me
anything but insurmountable.
I did not unzip my chest to every kind of hurt,
and stagger back, wounded and alive,
just to hear you call me weak for trying.
I opened my door to Heartache—
I gave her the fucking key.
My softness for wayward strangers
has made me nothing less
than a halfway house for aching soles.
So when you open your mouth
and call me ‘baby’
understand that I am not your next victim
in a laundry list of broken girls.
You think I don’t know you? People like you?
People with mouths for hands.
I’ve got skin like topsoil
and your teeth could never take root.
So when you go looking to make a plaything
of a sunburst,
you better look for someone with less fire
Because softness or no,
I will eat you alive
before I let you make a meal of me.