Love, I dreamed of you last night.
We were swimming among crumpled sheets,
drunk with the moonlight.
Drown me deeper, I said in between gasps
but suddenly you were quiet. Ebbing away,
you rested your head between my breasts to sleep.
I woke up to find that your head was just
sunlight on my bare chest, breaking in
from the window. I was borrowing warmth
to fill in for the things I lost to you.
Even the mirror from across the bed,
repeats the fact of my loss,
the fact of my wondering:
why do you leave with the night?
The first time I undressed before you,
I was trembling, wondering what you thought
of the small breasts, of the downhill road of hair
that trails down and breaks out
to cover evidence that I need you. Love,
I wish you had told me
I was beautiful against the roughness of your skin.
I waited for you to prove me guilty of needing you.
I thought you would want to hear
the quiet words in between my every breath.
I thought undressing was saying enough
but you really weren’t asking.
Some nights I feel weightless in the dark.
And I cling to the sheets, afraid
that I will scatter like dust
and in the morning find myself
whole again in another body;
afraid that the mirror may repeat my mother—
her face, her thick thighs, her ample breasts—
sleeping close to my distant father.
Love isn’t heroism, you told me.
You were beginning to ask questions
about the smell of festering wounds.
You couldn’t say so clearly
that you’d be leaving soon.
You didn’t need to hear,
but I told you anyway:
I snore when I sleep
and that is the boiling of my hurt.
I also speak gibberish,
a kind of Spanish nobody can understand.
I cry through my mouth
and it does not close when I sleep—
I cannot stop my lament for all the dead inside me
I cannot sew them altogether and pretend
pain, like stitched-up rags, can become pleasant.
You even hear my words crash when I speak,
and when I shake, my edged rocks pierce through
the skin I use to hold myself together.
I am an earth. And inside me there’s faulting.
So I told you, Love isn’t a thief
Love, I cannot dream enough of you
lying on my breasts, hearing my faltering
heartbeat. It’s beginning to sound like mother’s.
I wish I had told you to touch me
in places I could never name my own.
I wish I could carry your head
as if my chest weren’t heavy enough.
The dent on the pillow speaks depths.
I cup my little breasts.
These will not suffice
to bed your head.
Melona Grace Mascarinas graduated cum laude from the BA English-Creative Writing program of UP Mindanao this year.