never have I felt more beautiful than when he told me I was
which is strange on my part ’cause
sometimes, hey, that’s just what he does
compliment me, I mean
as if it were a part of his daily routine
or as if he was built to be a self-esteem building machine

even when his own is non-existent
I don’t see why this time was any different
perhaps this was a weird instance
the word came and left in an instant— beautiful
a temporary click of eye contact
like when you press the shutter for your instax
keeping photographs and artifacts
to look at later for Thursday throwbacks

I feel bone-breaking guilt
’cause to tell you the truth, this boy has knit me a quilt
of nothing I can return in equal degree
and frankly
I still don’t get why he
chose… me
I don’t think anyone before him has genuinely loved me for myself
’cause even though I’m an open book, he’s the only one who didn’t ditch me on a shelf

“I think you’re beautiful”
he leaves sweet honesty to hang in the air
believing they’re the only words worthy of floating up there
while I sit in silent despair
digging for a response worth his while underneath all this red hair
within me
though I always come up empty

hurting him is the last thing I want to do
but I fear mere friendship is pulling him down heartbreak avenue
where everything from the sky to to the sidewalk sports its own shade of blue
I know this is true
’cause it’s a street I’ve wandered through
he means so much to me, but don’t misconstrue
platonic is truly my sole point of view
I wish I could change that
but all my efforts fall flat

if only I could we’d swap oldschool mixtapes named after each other
except this time the songs will be the type to make your heart flutter
we would binge watch movies the other hasn’t seen
fall asleep head on shoulder staring at a laptop screen
crack bad jokes about things that are edgy or green
since we’re only dumb teens

dealing with problems bigger than the both of us
and thus
it’d be foolish to betray his trust
to gather his stardust
and make myself whole
steal from him to make up for what people have stole
from me
it’s taking a toll
on me
I can’t help but feel like I owe him thousand apologies

and you know people could say that we already do this
when I list all these what-ifs
tell me it’s different to imagine than to reminisce
to which my response is
do you know what it’s like to fight a war you’ve already lost?
he’s thrown himself in battle knowing full well the cost
is likely to be something he can’t get back
or ever again have the same way
and I think about that every single day

how my name will be sown into the flesh of a scar
down the left side of his chest
across the front of his heart
the most wonderful part
of him
my vandalism
wouldn’t be very beautiful
now would it