In Which the Poet Learns to Wake Up Alone

by Rachel Wiley

If you insist on dwelling in this notion,

that your love did go away because they could no longer endure the heft of you
I say then let them go.
You may mourn them
and all of the things dreamed but left unplucked between you
you may cry

and rock

and drink

and fuck some stranger every time you forget
or, better still, every time you remember the way their
hands pulled at you without regret
or judgment
or fear.
The way they perhaps coaxed from you some luxurious bravery

to look yourself naked in the mirror
and smile at the heart it contained and the lust it released
and the wild unabashed melting of all of your body into all of theirs.
You may mourn all of this
But you may not now
you may not ever
stare contemptuous into your soft hips
your rounded stomach
all of your heavy and uneven parts
as though they are a collection of children
who simply would not behave well enough
to make your love stay.
You may not punish your skin with untouching.
There should be no mournful candle lighting,
no forgiveness ritual
as your hips are not some obstacle to overcome
Your rippled and stretched skin are not an off key choir to be endured
Take note from your thighs and the way they embrace one another like unshamed love
in this world so scared of touching.
You hold so much warm that you must only be a holiday
and there is no penance
none what so ever to be paid for that.

Rachel Wiley is a native of Columbus and a Capital University graduate. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Fat Girl Finishing School, was just released from Timber Mouse Publishing.