“a love poem / for my chest / which went / before me / into the world / for 24 years / before / I cut it off” by Haley Bossé

I want to talk about
how I left you

in a plastic bag
in a trash can
in a hospital

when I went into the world
but you’re not supposed to say
I’m sorry in the poem

where you try to say
what it is you love.

You rested
on my rib cage

mirroring my breathing
and liked the cold

first thing in the morning.
Nothing felt better

than the first time
you tasted air

above a lake
and lit up as if the world

was what you were waiting for,
as if you belonged

somewhere in it.
I remember

when you started growing
slowly like a vine,

changing the topography I was
into something that took years to map,

how I raked you into dunes
and held my breath

to keep from scattering you
across the landscape.

I remember the weight,
how it bent space and time,
how it made me realize

I wasn’t going to make it
if I stayed inside the boat of you

and how I chose to swim through stars
cold enough to kill.

I want to say it’s easier,
having breathed you out

but I’m busy
with the breath

barely guarded
by my bones.

Haley Bossé (They/them)
Haley Bossé is a queer non-binary poet and educator who emerged slowly from the dripping lichen of the Pacific Northwest. They can be found collecting plastic on the beach, wading shin-deep through mud and liquid sand, or consulting with the fungal goddexes.