Don’t leave don’t leave don’t leave don’t.

I love you because of the way you smile when you don’t think that I’m looking and the wrinkles near your eyes. I love you when you place my hand on top of yours, palm-to-palm, and make fun of me for how much smaller mine are and I love you when you pull me by my scarf so I can be closer to you. And I love the way you know how to navigate my body without some kind of roadmap. And I know, I know it’s all these things that sound so stupid and so cliché; I never wanted to be that kind of writer, the kind who talks about a smile or a laugh or the way a heartbeat sings me songs when I’m about to fall asleep, but before it was books or words, before it was crinkled manuscripts and dreams that were bigger than I could cup my hands around, it was you. I fell in love with you first.
So I’m going to tell them about those nights in my car. Everyone else, that is. You see it’s funny because I never really saw a car as the paramount in romantic imagery; I mean sure, I’ll give it to the Titanic, Kate Winslet’s hands gripping the fogged car windows, that maybe in those parts of my mind I’ve felt the sensuality of the moment. But now when I think of love, I find you sitting in my passenger seat, summer and its warm breezes and the way sometimes we only whisper to each other and how most of those nights you were asking me to stay. I never thought I’d let love rest there in my car seat, off seeing the world, or whatever the fuck it is you’re doing anyways.
And maybe I can tell them about that morning in your house. How I’d crawled up the stairs and I was so jumpy. Maybe it was because we were young or maybe it was because you were the first boy to look at me like he was really looking at something but my heart was beating so fast and it almost felt like the end of a movie. Your grandmother was wandering about the house whenever I was sneaking back to mine and you commented on how it was okay because she didn’t speak much English, but that doesn’t make her blind. She always smiled at me anyways.
Maybe I would tell them about the way you hold my hands. You do not work with your hands but when you press your palm against mine it is like you are laboring to repent for whatever sins we have committed. But maybe it’s not that special afterall; finger-lacing is preferable to cupping for anyone who’s in love. Maybe I would tell them that in art, Mary Magdalene is recognizable in paintings of Christ’s descent from the cross because her fingers in knots are a symbol for sex, but we’re trying to be holy here.
But I think I’m going to tell them nothing. Because in the end it is your mouth I look to when the words seem to have gone from mine and it is you who these small things in my life remind me of. It is you who I count down the days until seeing and you who pushes my hair behind my ear and who knows how to smile all of my smiles for me because sometimes I need that.
So I hope that answers your question. You asked it months ago on a couch in a basement and my heart was beating fast and you and I were sober by that point. I’m sorry I was so scared then and I’m sorry I was mad or maybe it was just moody or tired, but I couldn’t keep chasing you in and out of my love poems. You know that I love you for releasing the shame from my capacity for forgiveness and I think maybe I have my answer for you now. What do I want from you? Well I want you to stay.

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