Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Things to Know Before You Love Me by Amanda Hawk

Living room with part of sofa in sunny day and white cushion interior background concept.

Our first date will be lit by an exit sign glow
with the main course options

of which monster to drag from under my bed,
or which skeleton to clamor from my closet.

Pry open my mouth for an icebreaker
and examine the remnants of chewed up snapshot kisses,

clenched fists and goodbye voicemails.
Spend the night nursing a vocabulary of wildfire sentences

with the crackle snap of ‘no’ and the sizzle
of my emotions on your skin.

Cover yourself in eggshells the first time you come over.
The hammer of my tongue will demolish rose bud tenderness.

I learned affection from my mother’s flat palms,
approaching each relationship

with flaring nostrils and stomping feet.
Crash through every china-bone ‘I love you’,

and the next day will be text message apologies
and a reconnaissance mission to confirm that you

hadn’t gone missing with my left socks,
and people who once said they loved me.

But on the first anniversary of the hawk moths zooming in my stomach
and our trust-fall happiness,

we will build blanket forts
out of my apprehensive nerves and your steady hands.

Spend the day curled up on the couch learning stillness
and gratitude in the soft curve of your smile.

Learn to dangle hearts from the ceiling,
and waltz over eggshells.

And find home as you whisper my name
for the fifty millionth time.

Amanda Hawk is Best of the Net-nominated and Pushcart Prize-nominated Poet.  She lives in Seattle between the roaring planes and the city’s neon lights.  Amanda has been featured in multiple journals including Volney Road Review, Rogue Agent and the winnow magazine.  She released her first chapbook in 2023 called Rain Stained City.  She is one of six Puget Sound writers to have their work featured in City of Edmond’s Poet’s Perspective in 2023.

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