Don't Tell Me
Oh but you’re beautiful to me, you say.
Don’t tell me “you’re beautiful to me.”
When you say, “you’re beautiful to me” it means I am not beautiful to others. And if I am not beautiful to others, I am not beautiful. I know I’m not beautiful, but you needn’t remind me.
Don't tell me my body is perfectly beautiful exactly as it is. Tell me my hands are broad, yet my fingers long. Tell me you admire my long jaw that juts out, when I’m mad, like a jetty or pier reaching out, eager to meet an angry sea. Tell me my butt is plump yet tight and how surprised you were when you slipped your hands down the back of my jeans to find no silk nor rayon, no cotton nor polyester shielding my buttocks from the touch of your rough fingers, your calloused palms cupping each cheek plump and ready for juicing like late fall apples.
But don’t tell me my body is perfectly beautiful exactly as it is.
Don’t tell me you could drown in my eyes. My eyes are not deep nor vast; you can’t see the universe in my eyes. My eyes are hazel, sometimes green, sometimes brown. They are not wide, nor do they hold a provocative tilt, an erotic slant. But I have just now, in this past year of my life, learned how to wink. Tell me my wink needs some practice. But don’t tell me you want to gaze into my eyes forever.
Don’t tell me that in your eyes, I am flawless. I have more flaws than Market Street has lights, than a golf course has holes, than the Congress has scandals.
Tell me the freckles on my back are confounding, that if you stare at them closely between almost closed eyes, you can see a brown tree frog leaping over a mottled lizard. Tell me you can see a giraffe that is about to lope off into the dry savannah of skin just under my left shoulder blade.
Tell me my feet are curiously wide and it’s a puzzle that my little toe is always swollen and red, yet all the other toes are white, soft, smooth, with nails that shimmer pearly-pink.
Tell me you wonder if I ever comb my hair, curly and unkempt. Tell me when you run your hands through my hair and your fingers get tangled in the knots and the curls, you wonder what it would be like to be trapped in a fight with me. You wonder who would win. You wonder if it would matter.
Don’t tell me I look beautiful when you pick me up for a night out. Tell me my dress hugs my butt just right and you like how my black lace bra pushes my breasts up, just barely overflowing the low cowl neckline of my dress, scarcely revealing just enough of my full white breasts to make you whisper in my ear, as you hand me a cocktail from the bar, of ravaging me in the parking lot before you take me home.
Don’t tell me I’m the perfect lover for you. Tell me you like the way I rise up to meet you, stroke for stroke. Tell me you like how my body is soft yet firm beneath you, yielding yet not submissive. Tell me you like how I ride you, how my breasts dangle in front of you. Tell me thank you for the breakfast I sucked out of you, and the breakfast that came from my body. And the breakfast I finally brought you from the kitchen – the eggs and bacon and coffee and juice. Tell me you want me to eat you for breakfast again and again, but don’t tell me I’m a perfect lover.
Don’t tell my face is lovely. My nose is not a sleek and graceful one, or a sweet turned-up little button. My face is not delicate, nor finely chiseled, nor my skin translucent porcelain. My lips are not full, nor elegant. My face tells a story of time best left untold. And sometimes, even when I know others can see, I can’t keep my face from slumping into shadow, the jaw slack, the eyes vacant.
Don’t tell me I’m beautiful. And don’t tell me you love me.
Tell me when I sleep, my face looks like a ship moving carelessly to the edge of the earth, and with each breath I draw, I move closer and closer to dropping off the face, the edge, of that flat earth and you worry I will never wake again but stay in that foreign world, that strange universe where the world is not a sphere but is flat, flat, flat and you fear that if my face falls off into that edge, off that map, you will never find me again.
Compliments of another SUAW (Shut Up and Write) Session