Rianne Salenga

Edition April 2020

Here - by Rianne Salenga (Photo by Bianca Berg).jpgPhoto credit: Bianca Berg


By Rianne Salenga

I’d like to think a parallel universe exists where
our tongues do not bleed biting back the words
‘I really wish you were here’
Where goodbyes never make it past
your lips as they finally mold better
around mine.
Airports are no longer places
of nightmares,
3 a.m.’s no longer choked prayers
disguised in unsent voice messages,
the pillows are no longer wet,
and the sheets no longer calling you back to bed

I hear reality knocking now and I let it in
I hang its coat, offer it tea
and let it keep me company until
you and I are ready to meet again.
And if this parallel universe forgets that we exist,
I know you will remember that I am here
Habibi, I am still here.


Keep Her - by Rianne Salenga (Photo by Aliyah Jamous)Photo credit: Aliyah Jamous

Keep Her

By Rianne Salenga

When a woman shows you she is strong,
do not take this as an invitation to break her.
No, she is not fragile –
but she did not walk barefoot on
the shards of her doubts, trip on
the rocks of her failures, skin her
knees on broken promises,
only to show you that she will stand again.

When you hear the quiet confidence
in her voice, do not take lightly the words
“need” and “want” from her mouth.
She has been alone
on this uncertain road long enough
to know the difference.
And these syllables can only dance
off her tongue, and twine with your name
when properly invited.

So when this woman
whose veins have survived fire,
tells you that the lilt of your laughter is
her favorite song,
and she welcomes your eyes
like honey on her naked skin,
when she tells you your breath
smells like her kisses mixed with the oranges
you ate off her fingers –
hold her.
Believe her, and be still.
This is how you keep her.

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