When she cries herself to sleep
six out of seven nights a week you must
say nothing. You must simply take
her in your arms and kiss her gaunt,
pale cheeks and wait for her to
slumber at the sound of your heart.
On the days where she wishes she
were part of the stars, tell her
no. Tell her that there are too many
lights in the sky and that just one
would be forgotten the moment you looked
away from it. Tell her that she is perfect
the way she is: completely human.
Don’t let her think about the scars
that no one but her can see. If she
says “I think I’m broken” smile like you
know a secret and say, “No, you’re mending.”
But do not be the one to fix her – no, she
must be the one to do it herself, and you
merely are there to quietly encourage her.
Read her poetry (even if you are
not a poet), the kind that uses
flowery words and compares girls to
the moon; the kind that you will
rewrite for her. Make her a warrior.
Make her a goddess with eyes like a
wolf’s and a smile like a tiger’s.
Laugh with her the first thing in
the morning and the last thing before
you fall asleep. Tell her cheap puns
that you’ve been thinking of for weeks.
And when she smiles – the type of smile
that could bring you to your knees if
you aren’t careful – know that for the
moment, she’s yours. She is whole.
Love her. Love her like a fish loves
the sea or a bird loves the sky. Love
her in the way that your heart feels like
it’s going to burst at any moment every
time it beats. Love her skin and the way
it feels against your own, soft and warm
and utterly flawless. Love her for the way
her voice trembles when she can’t keep it
together anymore and love her when she
holds onto you as if you were the only
thing that was keeping her alive.
Love her, because some days she just can’t do it herself.