The Girl After Me
I’ll eventually forgive myself for the temporary happiness I longed for, and I’ll eventually forgive you for giving it to me.
Because truth is, we both know how this will go.
You’ll probably meet a girl.
And she’ll remind you of sunshine and your hometown and have a laugh that warms you up at night.
You’ll take her back home.
To the same woods you took me to meet your parents.
And she’ll have a name much easier to pronounce. A biblical name. Your mother will love it.
And it won’t be like when you met me.
Your eyes won’t dance across her face with mysterious intrigue.
You’ve been waiting for a girl like her.
You’ll be happy she’s been waiting for you.
Unlike me, I had no idea what to expect.
And she won’t look like me. She’ll have hair the color of ripe strawberries, because truth is, you never liked dark hair.
And she’ll probably move like air.
Because I had too much fire in me, and the burns always scared you.
But I’m sorry, you don’t leave a love like mine without walking away without second degree burns.
You’ll feel nicks of flames in your heart for decades.
But she’ll learn to dress the wounds.
And eventually you’ll forgive me for not knowing fire is all-consuming.
You won’t break her. Not like I broke. Because by then you’ll have learned to control the kid inside you that treats hearts like trinkets.
The child that misplaces everything and loses too much, especially people.
You’ll build her up, like I did you. You’ll build walls around her heartbreak.
To keep her strong.
I had tried to be softer, but she won’t have to be. Don’t worry, my love, you won’t have to hold her heart gently like you did mine. I know how difficult that was.
She’ll allow you to keep searching for yourself.
She’ll accept that you’re still longing.
She’ll cook for you and it’ll be bland.
And you’ll remember how we danced in the kitchen, throwing spices in the air.
And you’ll hate her meal. But you always loved teaching people new things, didn’t you?
My poetry will always be hungry for you, and your heart will only love half the way it used to.
But you’ll be okay with that, and she will be too.
Because she’ll bring your mother sunflowers in a new vase each visit.
And you’ll forget after a year or two how much I loved tulips.
And by that time, I’ll have forgotten what your father’s backyard looked like. And smelled like.
But you’ll go out one night and start the campfire again. The same one I sat by you with.
And you’ll think of me. And when you do, tell her I said, “Hello.”