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Adrian Lajara (legal name: Adhaza Lajara)
High School of American Studies
Denis Murphy

Original Submission- a modern day love poem

there’s a series of confessions bubbling in your throat,
threatening to spill over, lay you out naked
in front of appraising eyes that will catalogue your every flaw
and spit them back out at you 
with voice raised and mouth curled into a sneer:
it doesn’t matter if your heart is lighter than a feather 
when your imperfections are heavier than 
all the merits you could ever hope to have.

the heart of romance is anxiety.
some say that trust is the key to a long lasting love
but the truth is that love 
is a tree that has all has its roots planted in fear:
we were never built for solitude, 
so we cling to those around us, 
let our thorns dig into one another’s sides 
and synchronize our heartbeats, 
tell ourselves that perhaps this time it will all work out for the best,
but the pain will always win against the pleasure,
so the hearts fused into one by a so called love will sever into two
and you will consider yourself naive and foolish 
for trusting another person with your entire being,
but you will do it time and time again-
after all, the heart of romance is dependency.

you learn that love is a hideous thing, 
reaching out for us with spindly fingers 
knotted and warped by age, 
dragging us into its clutches.
it brings out the worst in us all,
revives cardinal sins in their basest of forms-
envy, lust and pride intermingling and
setting out a path of destruction, 
razing everything you’ve ever cared for to the ground.

and yet there’s a series of confessions bubbling in my throat, 
threatening to spill over,
and i look at you like you’re the only source of light in the room
like drinking in your smile is a valid substitute for water, 
like i would give up all my oxygen to hear your laugh one more time,
and the urge to get close to you is crawling under my skin, flooding my nervous system.

and i know that i am scared, and vulnerable, and hopelessly in love with you.
and more than that, i know you will break my heart.
so i bury the love poem somewhere under my tongue 
and write this instead:
new age nihilism for the disillusioned
who have been burnt by the fire so often 
that they can no longer see the beauty that it holds-
instead, we laugh at smouldering embers and 
wish we could remember what it feels like to be warm.