the next

at the end
you have called me friend
I accepted this easy
label, simple word, easily,
too stunned to disagree


for the next,

will be the song with many chords:
the one that left, the one that got away, the one
he will never be able to speak about properly,
(tongue twisted for days, heart aching for a memory,
for a future, forever)

will be the one that deserved better, the one who was prepared
to leave no matter what and no matter the cost,
the one who said no to friendship
the one who will laugh and say “do better by the next”
the one who will leave without regrets and
without turning her neck
to look back at a bag of salt she can do without

have cut myself out of many bear traps
chewed my own limbs
loose and bloody from the laughing teeth
of cruel men, through my tears
until my cries turned to smiles,
the only kind a warrior smiles in wartime,

sewed myself the fastest shoes from
the soles of my own feet, the points of my needle nails,
and with my hair, threaded these, the first time, desperately,
with nothing but a prayer, and my used skin in my hands,
the fiftieth time, knowing
my body is magic
is a miracle
is beautiful and i will always regrow what i have lost

Soulmate or not,
the next to leave after vulnerability, after coaxing my sweet words with yours, after respect, after sweet gestures, and kindness and trust and beauty – loyalty-  – the next will not bask in the luxury of my friendship, will not enjoy the grace of my companionship, will not have my open heart again in his hands after he’s broken it once.

So yes:
me off guard.

And yes:
me a new lesson.

But never forget:
you, friend,

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