Strawberry Milk

i found you on facebook

a while ago.

my friends and i were showing

pictures of the people we

dated to each other,

telling war stories,

laced with longing.

you looked the same

as you always did,

nothing has changed about you.

you still never got those braces.

i like that.

your face still feels like home.


freshman year,

i think i spent more time

at your house

than i did at mine.

your family always welcomed me in,

no matter what day it was.


the first weeknight i slept over

at your house,

you had met me at the train tracks,

holding my hand as i cried to you

about my father;

his angry, drunken slurring

and the finger-shaped bruises

he left on my arm.


that night,

i sat at your kitchen table with your mother

drinking strawberry milk,

sharing stories with her of alcoholic fathers

and feeling more at home than i ever had in my own.


every night i shared with you

i burrowed under your breasts,

making myself a home within your ribcage,

nestling myself in the space

between your heart and and your lungs.

the home i had built within you

was the first time i had ever felt safe.

you gave me many first times after that.


the first time i became a vegetarian

was because you told me

that i would have to brush my teeth

before i kissed you.

i couldn’t wait that long.


the first time that i told you

that i loved you.

we were on a bus back from

a field trip with our high school’s

gay straight alliance

i held your hand

as we finished playing

with the free condoms

that they gave out.

and i cried as i told you

what you meant to me.

i never believed

that you would say it back.


the first time i touched you,

really touched you,

it was in the spare bed in your basement.

both of us slotted together

like spoons in a drawer.

glasses off and in the dark,

neither of us expected it to be good.

it wasn’t.

but it was full of love.

Lively, Young, Naive,

Determined, Optimistic,

Never-ending love.

made only for us

in that quiet basement.


the first time i went to summer camp,

it was because you told me to do it.

we drove there together on june 5th

and your mother

checked me in as her own.

after a week of games,

soul-searching, and friend-making,

my grandparents

took us back to their cabin.

we shared a room and a bed

and i crawled into your bones

and slept as peacefully as i would have

in my own bed.


in that cabin, deep in the woods,

we had our first fight.

i left you in our shared bedroom

to cry on the screen porch.

you came to get me

an hour later

and taught me

that strumming pattern

i had been struggling with.


we began to float apart

about three, four, seven

months later.

your strawberry milk had begun

to taste too sweet.

we both spent too long

trying to down each other

as fast as we could,

like knocking back cold medicine.


we never realized that

as people grow,

they do not always grow

in the same ways.

your stalk bent towards the sunlight

as i was overtaken by weeds.


i hold you in no contempt.

we were young,

you were my first.

we did each other

as well as we could.

as i drink strawberry milk now,

i remember you and i think of the

cloyingly sweet flavor

of your kisses with fondness.

i am glad to have had

a home in you

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