Love Letter to Myself

After Ocean Vuong/After Frank O’Hara/After Roger Reeves

by Austin Lawrence

 

Darling, don’t be afraid.

You have ended

so many times

only to begin again

in the morning.

Your pain is only

a burning reminder

that you have legs

that can carry you

through hell, and can

stand proudly in heaven.

Darling, are you listening?

The most beautiful parts

of your body are the parts

you had to grow again

after plucking them to put

in a bouquet for someone who

who did not have the capacity

to water them.

The man whose arms

were wide enough

to hold both you

and your shadow

were the same arms

that would tattoo

your pain in invisible

ink—so that you would

know it is there, staining

your skin, but no one else

could see it.

You would scrub and scrub

yourself raw at what looked

like your own skin—

and yet you still

asked for a second chance.

As if chance is something

he holds in his hands,

something you melt into,

something that will overflow

in his calloused fingers,

so that he has most of you

in his palm,

but enough to still

slip through his fingers.

Darling, you do not

need a chance.

Don’t be afraid,

the yelling is only

the sound of people

who do not know how

to love, so they are

trying to take it from you,

someone who is made of love.

Darling, get up.

The most wondrous

part of your journey

is where you will

end up, and remember

that baby steps are

still steps forward.

Here is the room

you are leaving behind—

memories of fights

and pain and what

you could have sworn

was love whistling

through you like the

tune of an old, forced

laugh. Can you see it?

You are one foot out the

door, and all you have to

do is take another

baby step.

Hinnah Mian is a 21 year old Pakistani-American poet whose debut book of poetry releases May 1st. Love Letter to Myself celebrates healing and self-love, and the difficult process it takes to get there.

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June 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle