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I Wanted to Tell You

When I come home When I don’t come home When I grind my teeth With my countryside

accent With the scars when I sing You’ll teach me how to forget Slow my heartbeat down

Will you teach me how to when I have to

Will you let me cross the street when it’s red Will you climb the stairs for me to the attic

where it’s cold and ancient bed linens notebooks and black and white photographs stay

in silence

please make me forget

What will you answer when I tell you that the thought of dying consoled me

You will touch me again

Will not let me cross the street when it’s red

Will say Please, don’t forget

I wanted to tell you Today I learned about “distress tolerance”

and “the need to feel physical pain to validate emotional pain”

It is not only emotional pain though It is the excess of joy that

makes my speech run fast pitched higher It is when I’m walking

alone after my students cry in my office and I wish I could help

them more It is when the brain pushes against the walls

Now when I remember I wear an elastic band on my wrist

and pull it when I feel too much Now I shop for elastic

bands not for color or how they feel in my hair but for

the depth for the shape of the hurt when they hit my hand

Is it time to wake up yet No we just went to bed

We are only a little older which means we are alive I know you love

breakfast but that is not until the morning Let’s open the window

Let’s smell the California rain a moment longer I knew I loved

you because in this same bed you were sick and I wanted to be


I wanted to tell you In a cathedral where we have never been we held hands

Stood breathing in silence near the pews at the back And I found

myself naked dripping holy water An unfamiliar wind from the doors ajar

Hold me I’m wet

[ The privilege of writing, of asking questions ]

How do you want to me? I ask

And I answer: I’ll tell you how to I’ll

guide you how to I’ll hold

your hand while you improvise

I’ll give you my consent

I’ll teach you how to use me and you

will listen

We trace labyrinths on my back

Sound and shape of the air weigh faster and heavier

At the edge of each path on my skin my breathing treads

lightly pause heavily

I fall to my knees

At the edge of each story on my skin meaning breaks


Now with your fingers follow the maze, I say

The night on its back is shy with its mouth open

As long as I know I’ll be leaving again, I can go back to the place where I was

Of course it hurts

Marina Romani, "I Wanted to Tell You" from Argo (December 2020).

© 2020 Marina Romani


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