The Perils

by Anonymous

He was the lost one,
and I was the lighthouse.
The signpost in the Sahara.
The smoke signal skyward.
Existing to guide
from wreckage or ruin,
or else an exquisite waste.

I told him I could no longer
carry him and his heartbreak
bound to my back,
when his legs would buckle
under the weight of mine.
With water slow on my tongue,
I said “my shoulders are pressed low
with my own heaviness now,
and you,
you are quicksand.”
He said “Pity. Your compassion was always your best quality.”

I said “my compassion is not a spring,
bubbling up in the sand,
there for you to lick up calmness
in the arid heat of your grief.”

I told him I could not give until
all I had to offer
were urns of ashes
and handfuls of dust.
I could not give until I became
He said “You’ve become bitter.”
With scorpions on my lips.
I said “do not use words like poison
to name honey,
and my skin is too smooth
to be described as knives.

I said “no” to his
hungry mouth
moving mechanical to
drink my sweetest parts
and feast on my symmetry.
And I told him he could not
build a nest in my body.

I said “I have soft edges
and my tenderness is lush,
but you,
you should be afraid
of the storms I hold
locked in my teeth.”

I am generous with love,
And hasty with kindness,
but I will not be the oasis
that your thirst destroys
in the desert
you have made for yourself.

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