AN OPEN LETTER

When I was a child, I used to stare into the sun
even though I knew I wasn't supposed to.
Staring into the sun felt like the only thing I could believe in.
Staring into the sun felt like what super powers must feel like.
Like if I could just look past the light,
there would be nothing that I couldn't see.
Like if I could keep my eyes open past the point that it hurt,
I would have the power to un-throw myself down the stairs,
or the power to un-hear the front door slam
after the yelling finally stopped.
I was always looking for the sun, even when it was nighttime,
because if I couldn't believe the sun was still there somewhere,
what hope was there for me.

These days, I find myself trying to stare into you.
Even when I'm not supposed to.
Staring into you feels like what I want to believe in.
Like how the moon must feel being opposite the sun.
I am trying to see past what blinds me.
Like if I can just keep my eyes open long enough,
everything will become clear.
But every time I get close to it not hurting me any more,
everything goes dark.
And in this I mean literal darkness, literal light, and literal night.
I like you like I like the dark.

In the same way that after staring into the sun for too long,
you can see the space between where you are and where you're going,
I can see the space between us.
I can see sun spots that look like you
taking me back to the woods to ask me to give you half of my life.
I can see the floor length, cream colored silk dress
I would wear in front of all of our friends.
I can see the old house that would need so much work,
that we gladly would do.
I can see the children's book I'd buy for you,
the same one my mother bought me to remind me of her love,
where I tuck the first black and white image inside for you to find
when you came home from work.
And I can see the calendar I would mark off the days
until we could tell everyone.
I can even see the way our bodies would change
as we gave ourselves to fighting for the opportunity
to one day tell a little girl that she’s unstoppable and have her believe us.
I can see how it would be worth it to keep on living.

But even though I keep staring straight forward, straight up,
shoulders pulled back and arms reaching,
I cannot see you now, in front of me,
the man who makes me the sun.
I cannot see anything that even looks
like daytime, or nighttime, or being alive.
Because when you see more brightness in a person,
then they could ever hope to see in themselves,
what hope is there for you?
What hope is there at all for burning away with light
all of the darkness of the past?

Staring into the sun felt like
the only thing I could believe in.
And now the only thing I can believe in is
how much I need you for to open your eyes,
because with your eyes closed,
you will not see me pack my pockets
full of pine needles, matches, and perfume
while walking backwards out the front door,
and into the dark.