by Maya S. Zeigler
Love like you can see it feel it
can’t have it or hold it.
Like when the ocean Loves the shores,
washes away pieces of rock
until they’re unrecognizable.
Love like you still exist,
can still feel, stand solid and beautiful,
rubbed painful and raw.
Like a snowflake falls like a feather,
and an avalanche rushes like a scream
from my throat that feels tired every morning.
Like a slow deep breath
of cold air
that leave lungs pierced
but sated and hurt but alive.
Love like your chest gets tight,
air gets stuck
roof of the mouth sticky.
Like a coating of the thickest syrup
real good, sweet
and so damn bad for you.
How can ‘I Love you’
hurt so much?
Do you know what that’s like?
Like when did I realize, remember
that that Love was never meant for us,
was never packaged, beta-tested, advertised, intended
for little Black girls, little gaybies,
women and womyn, for dark people,
whose souls are lost where the sea Loves on the rocks.
Is it supposed to hurt everywhere or just where they said the heart is?
Or hurt like when you say ‘we are the same’
or when they say ‘progress’?
Like they think
our dark, beautiful bodies
were made to hurt this way
be hurt that way
destroyed and torn apart
for everyone else’s sake that way.
Does it really hurt for you like it does for me?
Like the impact of a hand
across a blue and Black cheek
again and again?
And like protection swathed in blue
and gun metal black?
Like armor meant to keep away the pain
that brought it to your front door instead?
Like laying face down against pavement
with a weight shaped like fear
or 1, 5, 19, 32 bullets
pinning you to the ground?
Like death resting, silently on your shoulder
then shredding across your back?
Like when they say ‘too little, too late’
and it was always too much.
Or is it like pain that comes slow and steady
like the ocean Loves the shore?
Like a rainbow that shines
where the sun sheds no light on what hurts.
Maya S. Zeigler (she/her/hers) is a dance/film/anthropology major at Tufts University. Follow her on twitter @MiaMayaZ.