How to Mend Your First Broken Heart

I
get drunk until you cannot stand straight and
look around the room until you find one that reminds you of him
with cuffed t-shirt sleeves, dirty jeans, and those same leather boots.
ignore him when he tells you his name;
call him the one that cuts your tongue like razor blades.
kiss him straight on the face and do so violently.
ask him if he can taste the blood. ask him if you taste sweet.

II
hang halfway out of a passenger window with your arms outstretched
and pretend those city lights are baby fireflies. you’re a girl again.
the smell of the smoke from the backseat can be your father’s cigarettes,
and the stale smell of wine can be your mother’s perfume.
when you feel sick, pull over and vomit. pretend it’s the memories of him.
tell your friends they’re beautiful, and you love them.

III 
place a letter in any body of water you can find,
promise yourself it has all of those things you meant to say,
but could never find the right time or place to say them.
make sure it says, ” i love you,” and, “please, forgive me,”
because as much as you think he doesn’t deserve it, he does.
the water will deliver it to him in his heart from yours. that’s enough to give you solace.

IV
when the first man after him calls you beautiful, smile.
when the second man after him calls you beautiful, smile.
when the third man after him tells you how amazing you are, believe him.
if the majority believes it, believe it in yourself.

V
go on a date with a boy who knew you when you had braces,
when you had had scuffed knees, dirty hair, and didn’t wear makeup.
resent him for waiting this long but don’t hate him for his efforts.
let him buy you dinner and hold your hand, but don’t be surprised 
when his broken heart matches yours, and he can’t move beyond himself.

VI
kiss lots of strangers: women, men, ugly, and beautiful.
you will learn the difference between a kiss that has heart,
and the ones that mean, “i’m lonely.”

VII
the first time you show your naked body to another man,
you will remember how you said you would only do this with someone you love,
someone you care about, someone you want to be with.
when did you keep your body from your heart and give it away to empty hands?
put your shirt on and fall asleep in the shower,
do not wonder whose body his hands are exploring,
whose body his hands have fallen for tonight.

VIII
your last attempt at making conversation will sound like a plea.
you do not lack dignity or pride, but you feel undoubtedly empty:
it means you finally know the meaning behind not wanting to lose someone.
it will sting in your mouth and burn up into your nose.
it will electrocute all of your veins, puncture your arteries,
and sear your capillaries dry.
remember the time your uncle had to burn his field in order for new flowers to grow.

VIX
humans are not capable of as much as they believe,
but they can tell between good and bad.
if it feels good, it is right. if it feels bad, it’s wrong.
tell yourself this when he decides, at three in the morning,
you are his pillar, his spine, his life. ask him how deep he is in bottles.
he will never reply back.

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