1. You know how this ends.
There is nothing you can do to change it, so make peace with it now. Ready your hands for the callus, shred the cloth for bandages, prepare the rosaries.
2. When you meet him, (outside the grocery, along the boardwalk, under the overpass), you will not know what he is. He will be neither too charming, nor too handsome. Not thunder, not polish.
3. The day you fall in love, his mouth will spill your name. He will repeat. And repeat. He will not touch you. He will watch your hips. Study whatever ample you have. Will ask to watch you dance. When you turn to leave, he will use your name like a choke chain.
4. He will call you miracle. Your face will unravel. This is his magic. When he begs you promise, say yes.
5. When he offers his lips, take them. Take his arms, his throat, take his toes when he offers. Gorge. Swallow everything whole. Gag. Vomit. Swallow more. Do not hesitate. No time for polite, or coy. Take.
6. When the minions call you whore, nod.
7. He will tell you of the others. How they went crazy in their sleep awaiting his return. Do not flinch. Do not doubt your thickened fingertips. Stand upright. You promised.
8. When you find him in his room, thrashing the sheets, pressing his palms into the walls, howling, his face a river… close the door. This is how he makes wine. Leave him in his sorcery.
9. When he explains that he cannot love you, that he will never be yours alone. When he tells how the meek, the gluttons, the tempted, and the proud are his angels, do not mourn. Smile, feed him, wash his hair.
10. He is a king among thieves. The leeches will hollow his skin, the crows reduce him to bones. His own heart will empty him. Allow for the bleed. Be ready with tourniquet and prayer.
11. In the dry burn of dawn, after the last of the lashes, the thorns and the spittle, when his limp body is laid at your feet, remember the night you loved him, the ember of his eyes and the way the words came like honey.
12. You were made for this.
If wellness is this, what in hell’s name is sickness?
(It runs in the family, I come by it honestly.)
Mallory Ortberg of Gawker, critiquing CNN’s disgusting response to the Stuebenville rape trial verdicts.
but with you,
i can feel again.
I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.
Still now, I send letters into space,
hoping that some mailman somewhere will track you down,
and recognize you from the descriptions in my poems,
that he will place the stack of them in your hands and tell you,
“There is a girl who still writes you. She doesn’t know how not to.”