35

Sometimes, loving someone
is about leaving them the way they are.
Not everyone belongs on your to-do list,
not everyone is fit to be fixed.

While we may believe that
we’re meant to leave people
better than we found them,
sometimes, we’re just meant to leave.

If I tried to censor every mouth I met that ever
uttered a nasty word,
I’d be a moth
racing towards every light, enticing,
trying
to kill me.

There is no shame giving up
on someone you just couldn’t save
if it means you save yourself from it, too.
There is courage in continuing to keep the door propped open
even after the bad ones got in.
But there isn’t in sewing yourself up
even when you knew it’d
hurt this much after.

Not everyone can be saved from themselves;
it is not your responsibility to save each one.
Sometimes, loving yourself
is about hearing footsteps enter your home
that already sound like someone leaving
and not take this as a challenge, but knowing it’s
just someone on their way out.

Advertisements

32

As if everyday was New Year’s Eve,
you crack me open to see what you get in return.
When you treat everyone as just a gear to a mechanism,
you’ll soon realize how robotic you’ve become.

You were born from love
of jungle gyms and stomping grounds, but
if you’ve only ever seen the world through
this lens of us versus them
then I’m sure you were great at hide and seek.

Wearing others down like
a pair of shoes I meant to replace,
when someone’s resolve shatters under your pressure
like the snap of a thunderclap
is it music to your ears?

We were put on this earth with others
and maybe one day you’ll figure that out.
It’s no quiet accomplishment
sewing up these loud sutures again and again,
but if you do find yourself alone
thinking maybe I’ll take your call,
know that I am among an army of others
and you’ll be a ghost in my voicemail.

Because while I walk with such unsightly lesions,
at least I don’t carry the weight of your nasty, nasty heart.

 

Hi everyone! I’ve been so busy at my summer internship, and I apologize it takes me so long to get back to all your loving comments. I swear I’m working through them– you’re all so important to me, so please be patient! If you’d like to keep up to date with me and my personal adventures, please find me on Instagram at @elleguyen 🙂
Thanks for coming by this Sunday! Always remember it’s easier to say no the first time than it is to sew yourself up after the fact.

Love,
ELLE

29

Pair of keys,
I am left in the mailbox
just in case you forget yours.
Always last picked,
choosy team captains.

Once, in a dream,
I piloted my own ship
stern and bow,
then and now?
Plenty of difference.

If only my voice was louder
than the waves surrounding me,
my siren’s song, crystal clear
reeling in my catch.

I’ve forgiven a lot of awful things
just because I still loved
the mouth that said them.

If only I knew then
that apprehensive kindness
is not kindness.

If only my voice was louder
I’d say more than just what
they wanted to hear,
(maybe I’d be on my own team).
For now, I’m just a
parakeet.

28

On the correlation between
gaining weight and losing value:
like knowing to throw salt behind your back for good luck,
throw that notion away with the same reverence of belief
that no one really believes that either.

There is no glory in eagerness to be extra small
there is no shame in size medium.
Your wardrobe should not be a museum
of all the smaller versions of you
that you can’t wear anymore.

This toxic idealism;
a carrot, dangling;
if I continue to remind these clothes hangers of the old me,
maybe I’ll fit back in, someday.

Like a butterfly, yearning
to crawl back into cocoon
you are neglecting progress.
You have shown yourself compassion
by not ascribing your worth to your weight.

Your beautiful three-pound brain
is far from average
and if it expands with knowledge,
empathy, humanity and dignity,
and if others weigh in on your gain
and if you are alive and healthy,
quite frankly,
tell them to go fuck themselves.

26

Being me is not enough
for someone like you.
If all my affection piled up like
an avoided accordion file,
you’d say I was too much
with no folder big enough
to carry the burden of
such an expansive heart.

I called you once, in a huff
ready to say everything I had pent up–
that you were selfish and cruel,
how dare you try to shove my wild love aside
because it was more than what you wanted.

If my worst trait was being “too much,”
then maybe it was your worst trait, too
that you couldn’t carry it.

I’ve read universes of books to know
someone telling you they didn’t hurt you
has no business in telling you so.

I’d yell and yell and yell
and you’d say “are you done?”
like waiting for the beep
you’d leave your message
while I sat on the line, listening
to everything you weren’t willing to hear
but it’s different, coming from you

All you’d say was “my, me, I,”
and all I’d hear was the dial tone.

18

A story I’m ashamed to tell:
of red dots under eyes
popped blood vessels
counting the minutes left
after delicious dinnertime
to keep myself in check
to a schedule I created.

The unabridged tale
of satisfying my hunger with another’s envy
“Whatever you’re doing, keep at it!”
“You’re looking better everyday!”
“You’re so small!”
so so so so small

The strive to be size zero
my superficial goal to be
the bottom of a spectrum
to be loved, not revered
not an economist or a journalist,
just skinny.

On display: my greatest play
if the numbers on my plate aligned just right
it would create constellations of compliments
and everyone would finally
love me.

Every morning, I wished to lose more
even if it meant
the weight of my mind.

The Sparknotes of a novel I wrote
where flattery was food
and everyone wanted to know my diet secret
but no one cared to read cover to cover,
only the summary I fabricated
so I could fit into the clothes I thought
they wanted me to.

17

The overwhelming ache in your stomach
of missing a memory in real time:
summer camp planetarium
status: away from keyboard
phone left at home
sorry, no wifi
looking for: validation
arising from stoking my own flame

August night, northern town
guided telescope
they told us using red flashlights
keeps our night vision unhindered
and boy, could I ever see

Salt shaker, spilled
stars, meteor shower
car splashes pothole
stars like mud splatter on my jeans
and I’ve become the canvas.

An archive of my life spent
trying to get sons
to like me
that starry summer, I prayed
those dead suns were proud of me, instead

Boys used to tell me I gave them a hard time, boasting,
“I’ve never met a flame I didn’t like,”
but they didn’t know I was fire
or maybe I was that red flashlight
doing exactly what was needed,
on my own terms.