everything but the girl ~ 2003

If I'm perfect,
like she said;
I have to wonder how it is
I'm the girl with everything
but the girl.

It makes her uncomfortable, I know,
because she's said so --
and scared, I know because she hasn't said so --
that I feel what I do
even though I asked no more of her
nor want more now
than we both said we wanted.

She lit me up like a highway flare
in an instant and we
ignited, sparked and blared
in laughter, in splintered skin,
in those midnight talks
only lovers can have, where we
divulge more than we'd meant to,
but less than we'd like, barely
wearing our thin garments made
too transparent
from salt and sweat.

Yes, we'll all say,
these things seem perfect at dawn of the day
with the sheen still on our pennies
too new for tarnish.
Yes, we'll all say,
so it goes, shit happens, que
sera sera and we'll drown our sorrows and
in thicker sweaters and tired cliche,
if it was perfect -- as perfect as anything gets --
and we've still been set aside,
fled from, and that girl's
indemnified herself early in the game
we can't take
the what if's and could've beens
that darken and chill our doorsteps.

She said
she loves the way I flow;
how I'm able to accept, adapt and know
her limits, and how they fit my wants,
how I keep to our rhythm
in effortless jaunt
without skipping a beat, while keeping time.
I wanted
to tell her how easy it wasn't,
my hard learned lessons
in chaos management
and my lack of control,
how learning to accept and go with the tide
is something I'm reminded to do
with every breath full of
salt water in my lungs
from all the times I drowned inside.

There was disappointment in her voice.
Under her applause for my flexibility,
there was a silent dare
for me to refuse to bend, for me to break,
to beg or howl, to throw a plate;
to show her less respect to prove my investment.
There was an unspoken assessment
when she said I was so rare;
the unasked question I heard was
"Without the familiar, painful dramas
how will I know you care?"

Don't tell me I'm perfect,
I'm irrevocably flawed, and I know.
Don't tell me this was perfect
when you barely gave it time
to grow, when you're one foot out the door
and afraid to topple the rusty and battered
blockade that guards your heart;
puts a polish on love past that's long since decayed,
makes your scars less visible
though they've still yet to fade.

Don't tell me that
I'm everything you want and wanted
while you're letting me go;
it only makes me wonder if you ever saw
beyond the glimmer and the glow, past
the balm of wanting and being wanted,
past the first flush of having something
not rooted in suffering;
past the first fear of having something
not rooted in suffering.

She says it's all there,
that everything she wished for
is laid bare before her in me,
but she isn't "feeling it,"
some ramp unto this highway
she wants to get on is closed,
under construction with no promise
of resurrection.

I don't want to blow it with this girl;
if she's scared as she seems,
feeling a lack not of love, but of hurt and the longing
we let ourselves become convinced must be love.
I want to climb in that window
before it's shut tight. I want to say that someday,
at our own slow pace
in our own uncharted way,
it could be safe to let me in, love me,
be safe to be loved in return.
Safe to set aside all the love that we've lost
and safe to love new, letting old embers burn.

But I'm not perfect,
nor as brave as I'd like. I'm no less scared
than she is -- I'm petrified
I'm seeing not what is there, but what I wish for.
I might be misreading disinterest as fear,
because it's sweeter to the ear.
They say, they say she'll be back.
But I don't want to wait for the phone to ring, for that
knock on my door, to wish to see her bashful eyes
silently whisper I'm sorry, I was wrong, I was scared;
I ran too far too fast too soon, let me hold you,
let me dare to
take the time to find and chart every one
of the flaws
I didn't want to see before.

But, I don't want to be waiting
with my heart in my hands;
I don't want to feel this sore certainty
that she won't come round knocking again at that door.

Because if I'm perfect
-- if this was perfect -- like she said;
I can't fathom how it is that
I'm the girl with everything
but the girl.

© 2003, 2005 Heather Corinna. All rights reserved.