I did not grow up understanding my fingertips were matches,
my loved ones kindling.
When they said they were iron, I took them at their word;
did not grasp that to leave was to escape,
that to escape was to say goodbye.
Loneliness when you’re in love is the ghost at your dining room table,
the silent phantom-bodies dancing at your wedding,
the middle of the night search lights in an expanse of ocean
that refuses to produce the single life-saver you seek.
I am not lonely until I am asked to look past my love’s shoulder,
watch as every bridge that brought me to this island lights up in flame.
No one ever told me exile could be chosen.