Jay Christianto

Lover, Lover, Lover, Lover

As if holding my breath was downpour to the burning house, I covered my mouth and nose both, and
ran through the field with flames licking up my spine. I carry the weight of wounds in my hands. You
see, like a doll, I kept it hush and sush and it was good that once upon a time, I learned to become
water. Fit for any face, any wrinkle. Fit for any hole widening into a door.

I was once alive. So alive, my knees hurt. I clutched the fall of rainwater as if it were the only thing that
could distract me from hunger. I did not know any better. I did not know that the price for a new door
was to keep yesterday in the hollow of my throat.

Here I was, a flower mid-bloom, struggling to be blind to what had left it. When you are ready,
remember that the cost of recovery is not forgetfulness. When you are ready, remember. Remember
that the hand from which the blade of red came through was not one and your own. There were three,
and there were more. When you are ready, remember that to bloom, you must remember that yours are
not the only thorns in the garden. Do you remember?

I stepped into the ocean naked and sweating. As sweet and full of salt as it was, the bones of my wings
caught in the waves. I was once a bird with feet and no eyes. I was once wounds and a knife. I was once
aflame. I bloomed into a body unready for joy, and like any child at the mercy of growth, I swallowed
every burst of welcome disregarding all of its slowness. I begged and opened my arms too wide only to
feel myself pinned down. Only to overflow. Only to flood. Only to drown.

If not for the ease, then for the truth. If not for the fangs, then the skin. Tell me you remember. Tell me
you hold on to it still. Do you not touch your scars every now and then just to show that they heal? Is it
not your mouth that kisses and tears? Is it not your touch? The breath of your fingertips? The breath
leaving your lips?

One day, this will be it. Your fingertips, and the crook of your elbow. Your hips, and the small of your
back. Your shoulders, and the roughest parts of your palms. The hasty tattoo on your left shoulder. The
biggest scar on your wrist and the smallest one on your belly, just below where your heart should be.
This will be it. Another letter in your name. Another whisper in your voice. Another bone in your
poise. Like your art, and your halt, and the quiet you give into. How you fold your clothes and sip your
cigarettes, how you slap that red into your lips. They are all your lover, lover, lover, lover, lover. They all
leak you. They all self-portrait you.