Salve (My Version)

Maybe it’s an ocean swim, summer rain, strong coffee,

to hear my mother’s voice back when she could save me.

Maybe it is love, the filament in every lightening bulb: the juice, the nectar, the buzz.

Every season a peach falls in winter only because it didn’t know it couldn’t, but to tell you the truth my lips are cracked.

I don’t know if you were right or I was wrong, and anyway maybe

it’s not what you give, it’s how you apply it

I’m sorry

Gently now, honey, where the skin is torn.

Prompt

The exit was mislabeled. Instead you are here, to the left of well adjusted. Whatever. I stopped caring for bubble gum a little after twenty. Now look at me– spirit half smoked but I know when I feel something. I know the blue gradient in a May ocean, in a lullaby, in a racket. What was I getting at? The exit was mislabeled. Instead you are here, filing your black ideas, hoping to dye the blonde feeling back. Maybe with the next paycheck. Maybe when your body slips through the night in a full sprint, lungs praying to be gills, praying to be anything with the same function that hurts less than this. Every exit is a trap door. I fall deeper inside myself. Sometimes I think I am in my own basement, other times a roof deck. What a damned city (damn me to loveliness, to heart movement, to bees). I’m glad the exit was mislabeled. It brought me back to me, but you don’t have to trick me into staying anymore. I’m with you. I’m with you. That’s how I scold myself, and afterwards how I soothe.