By joce leo
girlhood in your mid-twenties is
braiding your friend’s hair
brushing it back
holding soft strands between careful fingers
asking over and over sorry, does this hurt?
i ask her for help zipping up the back of my dress
and she’s so careful with me;
i do not love her – but i could love her.
we sit on her bed cross-legged
we’re laughing so hard that the bed shakes and
i am running out of ways not to say
i could love you i could love you i could love you i
i want to mold dragonflies into the creases
of her palms; take a gold leaf pen
to each one of her scars;
take her to the church i grew up in
tell her i know shame, too;
i sleep in her guest room below her room
and in the morning i make the bed
leave everything how i found it
leave when she is still asleep upstairs.
(her floors creak and i do not want to wake her,
it takes hours for her to fall asleep.)
her being is authorless prose
joce leo (she/they/he) is an MFA student, abolitionist, researcher, and queer lover. joce is passionate about creating spaces of abolition of systems of power that no longer serve us and providing hope to survivors of long-term psychiatric institutionalization as well as sexual violence.