I used to think love meant making room
Meant being consumed
I used to want passion, fire and lust
A love that burned hot and turned doubt into dust
I used to see him and I in terms of what I had won
Our futures, our presents, all that we’ve done
I now know that winning is just consolation
The true prize is knowing—just knowing—elation
The first time I saw you wasn’t exciting or new
It was old and comfortable like I’ve known in few
We came together, inspired and awed
I wrote on your arm, “the world is full of gods”
I used to think love meant being consumed
Invaded, made new, allowed to bloom
I now know that love is being explored, to roam
I now know that loving you was like coming home
a boy touched me once, and it resounded forever
waves of something — emotion or whatever
he was number three of a list that grew after
to great lengths, i can’t lie
not like him (he was an actor)
I saw him read poetry and words beat out his chest
daring to be heard like i never could, like he was best
he was something, something real and without fear
if not a little egotistical
much like me (i’m an engineer)
maybe it was fate that our love grew damp
or — likely — that he left for jewish summer camp
My last summer here, I drink wine on an illuminated porch, twinkle lights all around me. A boy is sitting next to me, showing me his tattoos. I wonder if this is what falling in love feels like. It will take us hours to kiss, to get to the actual raw skin and bones of the act.
Until then, we satisfy ourselves with gentle grazes of the fingers as I draw fake tattoos on his arms of my favorite quotes, the things I like to doodle in class when I’m not paying attention. We retreat to his bedroom, a simple room occupied only by a bed and dirty clothes, to watch a movie.
When the movie is over, he starts to take off my clothes. I am frenzied; he is calm. He turns on the lights, and looks at me. I feel like I’m burning. I’ve never been looked at like this. Whether or not I am falling in love with him is no longer a question; it’s a certainty screaming inside my head as my lungs struggle to take the next breath and my hands struggle at his zipper.
Three weeks later, he has already moved away, but I replay the night over and over as I fuck his next-door neighbor.