there’s no word for decolonial love in my language

maybe i’m an eternal optimist

i have entangled my fingers
in the hair of others
searching for signs of life
i have traced capillaries on the back of arms
following them like trap lines in the dead of winter

i’m sorry that my self realization had to happen on your back
but your back was the map that i needed to try and find a way back to myself

this skin is where i call home
but this skin has been loved and unloved into oblivion

i miss the sound of snow falling on snow

no one tells you that
the tragedy of loving is spending
hours lost in your own mind

i tell myself
that whatever happens, happens
and that despite all that i have survived
i can survive getting lost
in someone’s hands

maybe this is why i’m an eternal o p t i m i s t

this body

my b o d y

is not a site of ideal desire

t h i s body

my body

is a never ending battle

and disappointment

but it’s very existence is proof

of my survival

this body

my body

hides memories in my cells

connecting me to
stories whispered to
snow falling on pine trees at midnight

we only tell our stories in winter

maybe i’m still an eternal optimist

because

i’ve learned wayfinding by counting the
vertebrae of lovers i’ve never loved
and by counting the teeth of lovers that have never loved me

but despite
having to use humans as maps
i continue to get lost
hoping that

i’ll no longer have to
leave a trail of hair strands
at the foot of beds
in order to
find my way back

to

myself

and my

eternal optimism

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