What would happen if you collected all the men who’ve loved me?
What would they have in common?
Would they be friends?
They would be an odd assortment to be sure.
If I remembered them in their prime.
The young and the old, maybe, collected in the age I loved them.
Louie would be there, proclaiming his love to me in kindergarten before moving to St. Louis.
And the boy who’s not sure if he loves me,
I wonder who would be the surprises.
Patrick from 5th grade, who helped me count all the countries in Africa,
And I never looked at twice.
Josh from high school, who I didn’t realize was in love with me,
Until his father talked to my mom, and told her more about her daughter than she knew,
Information he’d learned from his son.
What about the minor crushes,
The boys I left behind,
How many of them could say I loved them back,
How many told me,
How many were related to me?
Would there be any fights,
Dad would be there, and my step-father,
And then we start getting into forms of love,
Does a grandfather count?
Do the people who said it count or just felt it, even if they didn’t know they felt it.
My first boyfriend would be there, who I dated for two seconds
I didn’t actually like him I just wanted to have a boyfriend
I remember telling my mom, and saying, you’re supposed to like them aren’t you?
My pastor would be there,
Who else loves me?
What a weird category to make, while slightly self-serving.
Would they be ugly, famous? Fun, funny, aggressive? Self-effacing.
No one I’ve known this year or the last.
It’s not a matter of not being there to love,
It’s being there long enough to love.
Would they argue about who loved me best?
Would they wonder why they were there? Compare themselves to each other?
Would there be lots of colors, or would they all look the same?
Would they get along?
How much could you learn about me from listening to them?
What stories would they tell?
I want a new scar to match my fading one from last year.
I subscribe to the rather hillbilly ideal of,
More scars the better, means you’ve lived, and you’re reckless,
And you’ve survived,
Which means your lucky.
And I want lucky friends, so you can hang with me.
I feel like I’m not living,
I need to do something, anything,
I want a new scar,
I don’t want to be hurt,
But to be able to point to something tangible and say,
See? I do things. I am a keeper of stories.
I am living in such a place of self-condemnation
I cannot be proud of myself for taking a shower today,
Making food, or brushing my teeth.
I only remember the horrors of my past,
The things I’ve said,
That were wrong, stupid, incorrect,
And think of all the other terrible things I’ve done.
I’m paralyzed, immobile from the stupidity of my past and present.
But the part of my brain that kicks in,
In kindness really,
And tell me to stop feeling,
It’s okay to go numb for a minute,
It hasn’t hit yet.
Maybe my stomach is just upset because I’ve drank too much milk lately.