02: October 2014 #02 - You Are Not a Phoenix

Authored by Sarah Rosenthal #2

You Are Not a Phoenix

by Sarah Rosenthal

Intimacy is not homemade pizza
or inviting him to a bourbon-soaked birthday.
It is not when he holds your head in his hands,
not even when he grants you a nickname
eleven other people thought of before he did.
It is learning he’ll keep writing about old heartbreak,
it is every line he writes
about the fiery-headed predecessor—
it is knowing he is not the phoenix you thought he was
over iced coffee and hummus sandwiches.
No one loves a phoenix.
Fire didn’t cleanse a thing.
Intimacy is when he loves the bruisy scars on both knees,
knows your dumpling order,
stops pretending he doesn’t leave sacrifices of dried tears
and Taco Bell bags at the altar of his past lovers.
Intimacy means saying yes
to his sinking ship, your supermoon heart,
the separate renditions of your second date.
It is knowing the cracks in his beer glass
will spread but pouring him
a pint of your blood anyways.
You are not the fireforged ex,
Or the cracked set of china he calls family.
You did not pay for passage
in the hull of his melodrama.
You sleep on the rolling deck
and name a consumed constellation
in the hopes you never have to watch it blow.