my love is a candle-flame,
not a bonfire. it
won’t blaze up and burn us
both to ashes,
but slowly, steadily go
down its little wick
to keep us company
in the dark
until the wax is gone.
then hopefully
I’ll keep it safe
in a new candle
we’ve built
to receive it.

when you said
I had doubts about love
and I agreed, I
could not
clarify at the time –
because I was so afraid
to own my doubts, I could
hardly speak for the fear,
tears woken, choking
in my throat – but
now I can say, albeit
only in this rather
indirect manner, this:

it’s not that I don’t
believe you when
you say that you
love me.

it’s that I fear
that love
is not enough.

love alone
cannot stop
hurts from happening,
and secrets, and
and shame, resentment
and bitterness.

we can say I love you
a thousand times a day, and still
watch as our relationship dies
a slow, agonizing death
from a thousand
paper cuts, until one day
the candle just goes out
for good, and I’m all out
of love.

I’ve been there. I’ve
done it, or let it be
done to me – maybe both,
and they are probably
two bitten, bitter sides
of the same tarnished
coin – and even
though I thought
I fought against it, I want to
believe I tried my
damndest to keep
that flame alive,
it didn’t work; it didn’t help:
there seemed to be
no saving it
from anything I was able
or willing
to do.

so if we’re to maintain
our little flame
in perpetual
adoration, we must
do more than love. we
must work at it.
and I’m not so great
at working. especially

hence my doubts.
hence my fears.
hence my constant
need for the reassurance
that no one – except
maybe my future self
from a timeline where
we’re still together
and happy –
can really give me:
proof positive that
I won’t let you down, and
you won’t let me down.

but I know
that my fear is its own
blade, capable of inflicting
so many tiny cuts. fear:
being the mind-killer; fear:
being the isolator; fear
being a thing that can
keep us lonely
even when we’re together,
it behooves me
to be brave. I can
only say I’ll try. I
no longer place my trust
in words, intentions,
or promises. only right
actions, over time
can prove it.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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