Don’t Use I Some days hurt consumes you Latches on, paralyzes, numbs, refuses release You sit for minutes that feel like hours Staring at the wall You are whisked into the past Stuck now Feel like the future doesn’t exist Talking to yourself to calm you down You realize they are trying to settle now those boys you slept with when you were 16 those boys who most likely never left 16 They text you now They call You block them Because you’ve blocked yourself away from the hurt but sometimes you long to feel it again to cry in an alley with dirt and gravel between your fingers that time one of them pushed you into the dirt and you fell farther than the ground that time you wanted to end it all You don’t drink anymore, haven’t in years You realize these events would now only interest you in a movie So that you could relate somehow And to experience it again would probably end you But beginnings usually hide at the ends And you’re still not quite sure What exactly Love is supposed to be But you’re more okay with it now Than you were before The only thing you know for sure about Love is That it is the child you gave birth to you touch lives in dreams fingertips on chest bones lips on the crease of your neck necks that lead to head; lips— Nevermind You realize now that Love doesn’t always live in electric bodies You can’t always be plugged in And part of you is still lying in that alley with gravel between your fingers Part of you is still in that basement your father locked you and your brothers in as a child with only a toilet and a rusted sink behind a curtain to go to the bathroom and he took away the phones so you couldn’t call your mother Part of you is still a child standing on the porch as your father is trying to convince you to eat dog food because it is cheaper than groceries Part of you is still passed out in a stranger’s bed Part of you still screams for acceptance and it still feels like that may never be possible Part of you still feels worthless But it isn’t academic to tell people that though “Don’t use ‘I’” So you do your best to block the past—move forward Find somewhere maybe you are valued—maybe. Somewhere to learn You keep people at a distance so that they don’t hear the screaming You are still trying to settle Despite marriage Despite being a mother Despite a degree Still longing for connection With yourself more than anything And I wonder if Love will ever settle for me.
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Jana Tzanakos is originally from Saskatchewan but now resides in Calgary, Alberta. She is a fifth-year student at Mount Royal University. She is an English major with a Creative Writing minor. Jana loves spending time with her family, playing pinball, exercising on the treadmill in her pajamas, and taking trips out to the mountains even though she is still terrified of bears. She believes writing is a form of healing and a great way to analyze things that are difficult to overcome or confront. Jana has been a part of the Creative Writing Club and the Film and English Student Society at MRU.
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