My valleys are mine, and I nurture them for me


Shoes that aren’t muddy, but have witnessed half-hearted love

You always admired my slow

breaths in the morning, the way

my heart was the first to wake,

the way my lungs were never

quite ready to face the sun.


I was green in the mornings,

for moss filled the lonely parts of

me like the vines did the bricks in

the schoolyard, and I thought it

was just for you that I nurtured

the verdant valleys my lungs and heart

called home.


I wanted to tell you that I hated

the mornings, but you loved who I was

in the shadows of closed curtains and

absent light far too much for me to ever say it.


Perhaps my first mistake was allowing

the curtains to ever close.


But I’m certain that my biggest mistake

was revealing my valleys to someone

who didn’t care for the rain that flooded them.


Because you were never quite fond

of the muddy nights, the way my soiled

footprints tainted every hallway, every corridor.


I told you that very moss-filled corner

of my body needed you, but you

couldn’t hear me over the rain on the roof.


And you couldn’t see me through

your haze of foggy exhales, each breath

stripping the floor bare of my missteps.


So maybe I’ll tell you now:

I hate the mornings, and I hate the

picture of me that you taped to the wall,

the one next to the window that knew me

way before you did.


Because that girl, the one you captured

that one slow morning, didn’t deserve

half-hearted adoration, and I hope you look

at that picture and grimace not at me but

at who was behind the camera.


My valleys are mine, and I nurture them

for me.


Not the girl in the picture.

Not who I was in the mornings, my slow breaths

and slow heart and slow lungs.

Not who you couldn’t see at night, my muddy

boots and rain-soaked clothes and hoarse voice.


I nurture them for me, every single part of me

that you never had the courage to love.