by Morgan Dunlap
Before you learn this lesson, you have to give your heart to someone who will break it. Love them more than all the words in every book, more than the grains of sand, more than the leaves that fall. Show them every scar that you cut into your thighs and formed into words like whore and slut and help. Let them kiss you as they make love to you like staccato sixteenth notes after they have talked you from the ledge. Your back is pressed against their chest now that you have taught them how to catch you and hold you. Place your heart into the cradle of their palms and watch them as they part it like a torn stitch at the bottom of a purse causing all of its contents to scatter on the floor. There, on your knees, try to puzzle everything back together – some letters, a few pictures, a music box, some fatherly beatings, the Bible, a mason jar full of spare change, a rape, your cat – a gun sticks out like John 3:16. It’s all there waiting for you to decide until, finally, finally, you can stand up and walk away.
Morgan Dunlap is a senior working on her BFA in Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. She is currently working on her poetry thesis, focusing on Peter Pan. Her main aspiration is to earn her Masters of Education and move to San Francisco to work with Catholic youth as well as be an LGBTQ advocate.