She smells like something musky and quietly contained.
When I hug her, she is autumn leaves
with soft centers
and too many thoughts.
Slender arms and wrists locked behind my neck,
narrow frame pressing close
she tucks her face into my shoulder
I feel like saving her.
Every time I look into her limitless eyes
Eyes that struggle to hide what the world has done
what she has done
what she bottles up inside like
too many cold and empty nights trying to
imagine the space next to her embodied with love
carefully and tenderly constructed in
broad chest and
a steady beating heart and so much warmth
instead of dark, limitless, air.
the way she is utterly still when scorching
metal meets upturned wrist and skin
gently reddens and darkens and bubbles
pain is bliss and perfect for what ails her
she has never heard her father raise his voice
without a smile and
she finds the woman who pushes him to that edge
the edge she thought that only she could see
"mother" is a foreign word on her tongue
personified in trips to the toy aisle
and promises to promise to promise again
and not deliver.
She is begging for help
but not from me,
Not when she walks with her head held high and
her stride unwavering
gaze cutting down anyone who dares to raise an eyebrow
roll a tongue
unleash words she has no interest in.
Thud against thud against thud, all challenge.
Not the walk of someone who needs to be saved.
But they don't see the way she looks at me.
The way she can never meet my eyes head on and
when she does
exclamations of outrage;
I am never to look at her that way
never to tell her how much I love her without words
when words are her blessing
it rattles her up inside.
Pierces through her hastily constructed armer
exposes every heartfelt wish
But she is not the girl who waits for a hero
despite her longing glances.
She is not waiting to be saved
though she always trembles a bit whenever
I let her go.
She wants to save herself.
Superwoman, in her own right.
But she is just a girl waiting.
Waiting for a boy
who may never come.