Kelsey Jones


Loving you
was like holding on to a candle
long after the wax turned into
a tsunami of doubt
pouring over my fragile fingertips
leaving them burning like icicles,
melting like forest fires.
I thought my very soul was burning for you
but it was just a signal flare
already warning me that I was lost.

Loving you
was like reading an entire novel,
immersing myself in each typewritten letter
so painstakingly pressed to the paper
only to find that
there was a really shitty ending
or that the last page
was missing,
like being torn out of a book myself,
like all my words were worth nothing
and the only place you could find me
was crumpled in a ball
under the bed
with a book and some pens
and an apology I’d crafted with my bare hands.
Loving you was like trying to shovel rain.
I’d never wished for snow
until I watched your steps leave dirty footprints on the pavement.

Loving you was like having just enough dirt under my fingernails
to feel messy,
like being so close to sleep,
then jumping awake because suddenly I’m falling,
and they say love feels like falling
but I’ve always hated roller coasters
and tumbling makes me nauseous.
I think I’d much rather step gingerly into love
or see it coming, or ambush it from above,
instead of tripping and falling face-first into it
like a puddle so muddied that I can’t see my own reflection in it anymore.
Loving you was a train wreck.
And when they use that phrase they always say
that it’s so painful to watch
but you can’t look away
and as I looked in your eyes
I watched myself burning up
with the railway tracks still carved into my wrists.
And the night you left I pushed a pin into my flesh
because I didn’t want to forget that I was just another marking
on the map of places you’d been.

It took me weeks to wash you away,
like the way a new pair of jeans leaves all your skin blue,
leaving you wondering how your whole body could possibly be so bruised.

But loving you was like learning how to walk
by losing my footing over and over,
like remembering the name of someone I forgot
by listing all the names I knew it wasn’t.
It felt like falling but every once in a while
the scent of the floorboards reminded me
how to stand on my own two feet
and even though loving you was a mess to say the least,
I’ve never minded getting a little grimy.
So I guess all that I’m saying
is thanks for your bad timing.