pretty enough

By: Chloe Chou

something breaks in the frozen night 
    tearing / you sit up and i stay

right here in these warm sheets
    you say i am pretty only because the word beautiful

is too strong for someone like me. the word lovely too bland,
    the word cute too childish. pretty is enough and pretty is anyone.

i reach for your hand and i want to
    have your fingers between mine but

you pull away / like the sting of a bee     / like something foul
    a bird screeches somewhere in the dark, cuts itself off abruptly

you stand up and open the window, moonlight casts on your clean freckled skin
    i am brown against these white sheets, against you

you are strong where i am broken & mama says someone like you is someone i need
  there are things we can love enough
    with time / and i am not one of them

the crackling stars, gossiping moon
    abandoned bicycle on the empty road,
            wheel spinning, still.

i feel naked in this cold light
        ashamed i study my fingers, count
        each one like a confession

& again wind rushes through the open breeze, i want to call out
        come back to bed

but the words flicker and die in my mouth, my jaw sets like the pretty girl i am
    please / please tell me again

tell me, again, how pretty i am