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And in the end
you won’t really be able to tell
if you really loved them
or only thought you did,
but sincerely.
After enough distance,
the heart becomes
an unreliable source
of information about the past.
Certainty is some
graffiti on the wall
you glimpsed at
sitting on a moving train;
the mind takes
creative liberties through time.
You were sure you saw it,
but what did it look like?
What did it say
and was it speaking to you, or
did you just unintentionally
intercept someone else’s message,
love someone else’s love?
How you used to get
so bent out of shape
by the mere mention of a name.
How bleak the nights were,
how everything tasted
like the color gray.
How freedom was such
a desperately terrible thing,
and how you got so crushed
by the weight of
each brand new day.
In the end you’re not really sure
that any of them
were what you wanted,
or if you just wanted
to want something,
to give your loneliness
something to do,
and squeeze yourself
into the airtight little space
of not getting, or
of getting but not keeping
and see how much
you can get yourself to bleed.
You think maybe you wish
to hop back on the train,
go back in time
and tell your brokenhearted
younger self that in the future
she would find her way,
so stop hurting so much.
But really, you won’t remember
enough of the old pain
to do all that.
It’s not the same window.
You have seen
and wanted new things.
You cannot cry the old tears
nor invoke the old aches
to say it
the way she needs to hear it
so that she might believe you.
All there is to show
is a handful of verses
that occasionally shock you
with their intensity
and an eloquence
you admit you cannot trust,
and a heart that is strong
that sometimes fools you into
thinking it’s always been strong.

“Tender” by photographer Maja Topčagić


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