It's Like

i know what it’s like to hold on
like at six—when you clenched a fist
full of rocks from the playground
wrapping your sweaty fingers around
fool's gold
and it made no sense to anyone else
except to you and the dirt
that held them
before you found them
these diamonds in the rough
glittering pieces of nothing
now mean something
because you discovered them

i know what it’s like to let go
like when the ribbon of a balloon
tickles your hand
dances across your palm
and you release it
to test the patience of your mom
as you walk the short distance from the store
to the minivan
and she tells you to get a grip
but you cannot
because you are too curious
about what it looks like when a balloon
disappears into the sky
how far before your eyes
can’t see it anymore

i know what it’s like to have loved and lost
and also to have never loved at all
and also to have loved and found
and also to know that there’s more love out there
than the whole scope of us can wrap around
fourteen billion arms
like the black space between the stars
and the stars themselves
and the rings of jupiter
and the volatility of the sun
that god decided to put close enough
to us to keep us alive
but also far enough away
to keep us in time
with the seasons
all four of them
and there’s probably more of them, to be honest
or less, if you live in south florida
but i’ve learned that there’s love for all seasons
and then there’s love that doesn’t belong in seasons at all
but it shows up anyway
covers the world like global warming
walks right through your ozone layer
melting your glaciers
and makes the roaring ocean in your body
a sight to be seen—
believe me—
a flood of serotonin
makes the deserts of your mind
reel with mirages like movies
with temperatures hotter than last summer
you’re certain

i know what it’s like to say f*ck the haters
and then cry into your pillow because the haters were your friends and your heroes
what it’s like to be mute
and for their words to become dictators
to your emotions
napoleons taking over your motherland
throwing your motherboard overboard
and for your emotions to reject
the new member of the Good Intentions Club:
“i don’t care what other people think"
and for you to care so much
that you cry in public places
or leave them for fear of crying

i know what it’s like for no one to understand your story
and for everyone to tell it
boredom-born story-tellers
what it’s like to wear the scarlet letter
like a patch on your cool jean jacket
alongside metal pins that say “i tried my best”
and also “never give up”
all of that to say, i know
what it’s like to be a contradiction
to be so ashamed that you fight yourself
and the screaming minds of silent strangers
by yelling “i’m a good person! i’m! a! good! person!”
but never out loud
always very quiet
always in your heart
and never in your head

i know what it’s like for your heart to break
for your spirit and your bones to ache
what it’s like to inhale
the mistakes you’ve made
and radiate
like you swallowed the moon
like you took what life threw at you
and you threw it back
and you lay in the grass
and you stare at the night
with specks in your eyes
and you know that there’s love in those spaces between
and you exhale the song the stars sing