you made me but you will not make me bitter by Marta Špoljar
when people have parents go with them to pride
when fathers carry signs and flags and stickers and slogans
when mothers give speeches, i will not be bitter.
i will not be bitter when someone else's dad
paints his post box the colours of the rainbow.
when my friend's mother befriends her girlfriend,
i will not be bitter. i will not be, i cannot be.
i will let them show me how love is meant to look —
how lightness, how happy, how joy
wipe bruises off knees, how healing
rhymes with possible when spoken in actions.
i will not be bitter because i plan to stand there
one day with a family that i have built by watching
strangers treat each other how i want myself to treat them.
i roll up my sleeves and bare every scar, let sunlight
burn off the way we taught each other to forgive
everything except wanting to need no forgiveness. i sift through
our conversation for however you spelled „proud of you“
the euphemisms and the silences. i count
the scars you couldn’t heal
not to love me, not to love yourself.
not to see if there’s something sweeter across that river
if maybe there are some things worth not letting yourself drown.
i promise to love us both the way we deserve it
i promise to love us like split skin scarring over.
i promise to love like bones hurt as they’re growing
i promise to keep growing until it no longer hurts.
Marta Špoljar is a translation student from Zagreb, Croatia. Her poetry has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic and Pollux Journal and she can be found running social media for The Wondrous Real Magazine. Words she cannot put into poetry she tweets from @shhhhhpoljar.