I do not know the person I wake up in anymore, her arms a sorry excuse for the fire line of another’s touch. This is my second summer without wildfire, without mountaintops dancing in ambers. God knows I do not miss a home I cannot cup in my own hands, trail a path only my mouth understands. Is this too much to admit so soon, how I am outgrowing a body that cannot give me what I need? I haven’t been touched in months. I used to shrink away at the thought. The bar with the pool tables upstairs, where I confessed, I was once a ghost drifting away whenever someone tried to love me. I split myself apart each night but couldn’t bear tenderness I refused to find for myself. A viper baring fangs in fear of tasting blood, my nature a study in contradiction. That same night my waist turned concave mirror, reflecting the want of your hands. Don’t think I do not re-trace the pinpoints you mapped each night, the places where you don’t need directions. Ask me why my back became electricity and I’ll say you must force yourself to stop running. Ask me what will happen the next time I am unfurled and I’ll tell you I am already halfway there—keeping me awake, touch a language I am beginning to forget. Don’t let me forget. Don’t let me forget.
Kanika Lawton is a Toronto-based writer and editor. A 2018 Pink Door Fellow and 2020 BOAAT Writer’s Retreat Poetry Fellow, her work has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine, Longleaf Review, and Cosmonauts Avenue, among others. She is the author of four micro-chapbooks, most recently Theories on Wreckage (Ghost City Press, 2020).