This Is Where I Hide Love

His laugh, a summer carnival, spinning rides that make our stomachs do the same, cheeks kissed soft rose by blush of winter air, hands dyed permanent blue from weather, the absence of circulation, rough palms but soft touch, a red nose when seasons change, the outline of muscle pushing through skin, hair pale from the sun, and too much patience, always

My silk sewn blanket from childhood tucked into bed with me every night

The dog with a slobbering mouth and a human-like smile

The German Shepard with a grizzling bark mistaken for violent

He tells me,
“I don’t wanna love somebody else”
He says,
“I don’t know how to”

The copper guitar pick, the candle we dip wax fingers in, the Polaroid print from an angry night out, my crumpled side of the sheets

I grab the back of my neck like the hold of it will keep me grounded
I bite my lip until it bleeds for a sense of familiar pulling

In between the pages of a dust-covered book, kept quietly on a shelf,
This,
is where I hide love.

I am piling these moments like unread obituaries, unnoticed loss to someday be recovered
Maybe these deaths were never written down to begin with

Off somewhere in mountains, a place I could not pinpoint on a map, the outline is as faded as time has swallowed us whole

I still sleep wrapped up in childhood but the nightlight is missing now

A grave by a train track holds the body of the animal that grew up with me

I am no longer fearful, but understanding of creatures and the sounds they make, unknowingly

These words are lingering on a lightless street beneath the tree that holds all of our secrets, there is no place else for them to breathe open

Mementos of months without marking, I am thankful for not keeping track

When anxiety asks to speak to me,
I dig fingernails on thick skin above ink
I place a lip between teeth and
press down slightly

I tuck all of this away in a new home, miles from origin, path drawn like dots connected, it sits quietly on a shelf waiting

This is where I hide love for
If I ever go to look for it
Again

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