Process of Elimination


i. excitement

i told myself you can only feel the way you do
when you’re 16
once.
i said
this is grown-up love. 
i said 
sparks don’t fly forever.
it takes me so long to write poems about the way i love her, because 
i don’t know how to
make it perfect.
grown-up love means fighting.
we don’t hold hands in the car anymore, and you don’t kiss me goodbye. i’m thinking 
about you. i don’t know what you’re thinking about. 

ii. communication

the only time I know what you’re trying to say is when you don’t say anything at all.

iii. honesty

maybe i was lying to myself, but
imagining we were happy made for a better story
than where we were headed. 
we both turned into storytellers, hoping 
It’d make us feel better. 
in our heads, 
You loved me a lot more.
in my head, 
I wasn’t forcing you to stay.
in your head,
You wanted this. 
so you tell me so. 
and i read those lines in the story to myself
as if i didn’t see the pause. 

iv. love 

“is it because you’re depressed or because you lost feelings for me?”
“Both”

as if i didn’t feel the energy it took you to touch me vibrate through your teeth. 
as if i didn’t notice how far away your body was from your head. as if i didn’t know there 
was somebody else. as if i wasn’t pretending everything you said didn’t sound straight 
out of a script. 
there was always a pause when you told me you loved me. it hurt less when you just 
stopped. 

v. self

my identity didn’t know who it was without you. i built up a new girl that only thought 
about what to 
say 
do
wear
think
be
to make you see me as breathtaking as you did when we were 16. 
when it didn’t work, suddenly i was standing still while the world turned and you breathed 
easier and time passed and it felt like i was seeing it all through broken glass. i didn’t know how to exist without hoping you were watching. the tie was cut but i could still feel the friction on my wrists linger after all the pulling. i was waiting to be guided by a light i thought was never going to come back, 

vi. Self

but i got tired of the dark, so i made my way out by my damn self. 
i retraced my steps and picked up the pieces of me i had left along the way. i realized i 
was there for me every time you weren’t. i collected every ember that flickered off my heart along our string of time and ignited them with not the friction you created with backing away from all i am, but with excitement of getting to know it again. 
now i am my own favorite company. 
now i don’t need to distract me from me. 
as simple as it should have been, i can look at myself and not feel like a stranger in my own body. i can look at my body and thank it and not dread all that i thought it wasn’t. i can look at all that i thought i wasn’t and see all that i know i am. 

i was left alone with myself, and that was the greatest parting gift you could have given me. 



By Angelica Crisostomo

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