at eight, i remember imperfections
bordering my skin.
i remember sculpting them at nine.
ten tossings, turnings, talking now,
talking about swimming pools
and bloody noses, red on blue,
on waves of blue. i’d always liked purple anyway.
eleven is fear. eleven is new people and you blossoming while i shrivel, eleven is choking on spit, eleven is creased by a distinct lack of you.
i remember teeth grinding on teeth and lips and oh, god, the doctor says not to do that anymore but i do it anyway. you said it was fine and i wanted to listen.
twelve is tracing the borders first bluntly, then sharp, as if the words would never be enough.
i could be ugly just for fun, i could.
and i remember how you would look at me as if i were something disgusting, something stale: something to be forgotten.
and yet twelve is falling for you. twelve is the boys and girls we liked and poor vision and me, standing on the edge, trying to hold the universe together with these fragile hands that i know will never be enough.
but thirteen’s unstable, unsteady, unraveled. thirteen marks the year of me, the months of falling, the weeks apart, the days that would never go by quite fast enough.
i remember them. i remember them as much as you’d like to forget an iteration of me, shipwrecked against cruel intentions and the world.
fourteen’s unstable, uncertain, unsure. stable, maybe, in smaller ways, certain, maybe, in the steps to the edge. i push harder, staining with black on blue, on waves of blue, on acres of skin.
at fifteen, i remember billowing pools of stars and wishing i could sail them too. i was so sure these feelings didn’t exist in space. they’d call me moonwalker and i’d never have to come back.
i remember you trying to talk me down.
i remember you and me, bathing in cliché because we’ve never known anything else. fifteen was a glimpse of the beautiful infinities you carried in your pupils and me thinking: “fuck the stars. i could sail those eyes.”
sixteen is the ravines carved into me and my weathering away. it’s good otherwise. i’d keep it.
seventeen is your collapse. seventeen is you breaking promises, breaking me. seventeen is choking on a distinct lack of forever.
but i remember the yous still. at eighteen, i remember the you bright against the night. i remember the you swimming in these fragile hands, and the you in your teeth biting down.
and i remember
how you would look at me as if i were
someone incredible, someone enough:
someone maybe worth saving.
i should’ve saved you instead.
now bordering on nineteen, i know
i will never walk the moon. it’s better, anyway,
to just love you in a way that involves