A Letter

Dear Julia,

There are times I see the ghost of you haunting the places we used to visit.

I feel the knots in your hair,
The grooves in your teeth, 
The expired muse that would drive you hours into the night because HOLY SHIT,
There is SO much to create.

I remember the music we use to listen to,
The movies we used to watch,
All the lovers we let go away.

How could you think I’d forget?

Dear Julia,

You would’ve been 18, but you’re not.

You never got to get your first tattoo,
Never fell in love with the boy,
Never made your friends proud.

The day your parents found out you were dead was the day I moved out of my house.
Funny, how different our demons were.

Dear Julia,

I know how much you hate cigarette smoke.

It always lingered on your mother’s breath as she hissed your name like your life was a broken sitcom.

Reality never hit so hard as when the laughter stopped and the applause began to sound like broken glass. It felt like everything burned.

Your mother held your torn corpse at the foot of your staircase; 
A shredded flannel was your cocoon, though it looked more like a noose the way her ghoulish fingers crawled over your old skin-

Dear Julia,

He may have taken from you what he did not deserve but the death of your womanhood was not like the fear that his hands were a gun.

Cannon fodder was the way your parents acted when they found out you were a crime scene.

We both know it wasn’t your fault. He isn’t the reason you died.

Dear Julia,

Did it ever feel like you had bombs strapped to your chest? The way you walked with your chin tipped to the ground was like looking up would have pulled the pin that finally made you detonate.

You grew up learning girls were hurricanes, so you must have been a natural disaster from the start.

Dear Julia,

You were never a disaster.

I say your name in a room full of people as if you were just part of a story that I had nothing to do with,

As if we were never the same person.

Your mother- our mother- believes if the testosterone never took affect that maybe you would still be here, somewhere in the shrapnel, somewhere in the collateral, and she’s picking up our pieces and they don’t spell out your name anymore.

They spell out mine.

Dear Julia,

I’m sorry. I’ve lived so many years in denial you were ever a part of me.

I’m sorry every time I stuttered my way through your name like I’d forgotten how to write it. But you will never just be the name of a dead girl. You are a monument. You are the first thing in the morning to remind me that it gets better.

Dear Julia,

Go apologize to your mother. Tell her you love her. I’ll try and do the same.

And- I forgive you. Thank you for letting me make it. I promise I’ll never let us down again.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
Our world

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