turning you into literature

by Elizabeth Lewis

“The best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature”
—Henry Miller

i mixed the ink of your eyes,
and you can’t imagine how hard it was
to find the right shade of green.

i decided that you must be made up of layers,
that each lover lost had piled onto your brow
like a van Gogh painting.

you were a book and i was a page.
all i wanted was your entire story,

which is selfish, true.
you cannot own words
and there is nothing that hasn’t been dirtied by another mouth,
and we deserved more than that, didn’t we?

i would reread you forever
if that would make you happy.

because all the other stories out there don’t kiss quite right
and their backs feel strange—
like ribcages and immaturity
or like nervousness and beautiful voices.
i don’t need to know how they
it’s okay if you need new bindings.
i think i realized what changed me so quickly—
i remembered that
love like this only comes along two or three times an anthology.
i realized it was worth it because

you were my favorite book.

even if i was just a chapter in yours.