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When a tornado walks into your home, you do not ask the thunder to repeat itself.

You find a place to take shelter, because this roof is not enough anymore,

you make new hiding places out of old stories,

you find compartments to survive inside of,

the walls are pine and smell like love.


After all it holds you, but not the way he does,

his grip meant to leave reminders,

he says bruises are just so you don't

miss me, anxiety so you'll never

forget me. His words echoed like hail on a tin roof,

rattling around like pinballs or molecules,

I can't help but think about the messages you write with your hand

across my cheek, the imprint you left in the wall, the questions come

like prophecy, when will it happen again, is it you outside the door,

is it me, did I do something wrong,

is it me, did I deserve it,

is it me, is this love,

is it me is it me is it me

and my head just keeps swimming, spiraling, drowning, running

whatever, and all

I want to do

is hit. it. against. the wall. until it. stops.


every footstep in the hallway, every creak became a symphony of panic,

as if you were conducting an orchestra of stray neurons,

your manic way of saying I love you

was the same way I learned to build walls. 


In the silence, on the other side of the door, I could see the lightning fade into your bedroom,

back to the woman who knew you were a storm blowing in,

who thought that she could save you, and though clouds start small they become heavier with gravity,

and that was already enough to

keep us on the ground. 


In the hour after a rain, you can almost feel the ocean on your skin,

the petrichor like a memory looking to be remembered,

wanting to be a part of something

- blood, sweat, tears -

it wants to surround you, because it knows where you're from,

it wants to carry you back, because it wants to see where you belong. 


I had to learn how to touch again,

I had to be patient to understand that it doesn't always hurt,

that when someone reaches out their hand

it can hold you gently, it can ask you what you need,

you don't have to reach back but you can,

if you want to.

Sometimes we just need to know that we can move the clouds too,

like pushing through humidity, but I'm afraid to disturb you,

afraid to move, because if I do

I'll get you on my skin, and sometimes that's too close,

I don't want it to find its way in,

to become a part of me,

after all it has already left its mark on me,

every time I flinch and you don't understand why. 


I'm afraid that I can never be without the storm, the rain

a reminder, the petrichor

my peace with it, and the clouds will come again, but

this time I'll bring a rain coat,

this time I'll bring a lightning rod,

this time I'll make something out of the electricity,

this time I will be the light that never goes out and

you will be the fuel,

because I am more than just water and

I will not evaporate because you’ve asked me to. 

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