You say the word “bittersweet” and I can only think of how
it seems like a bird plucked of its feathers sitting there on your mouth
squawking for a flight that won’t come.
You are coffee tasted for the first time,
and my ten-year-old caffeine-curious lips were not prepared for
how dark and grossly plain of a liquid you would be.
You say the word “bittersweet” and it makes me want to pull out a dictionary
and inform you that, no, bittersweet cannot be an eye color,
Merriam-Webster calls it “pleasure alloyed with pain” so
it can’t be the way you look at me when you say
we are cartons of milk left in room temperature
but how you still let me convince you
people don’t have expiration dates.
You say the word “bittersweet” and I want to wipe my thumb
across your mouth like windshield wipers, smearing away
the sun-baked, splattered insects and flecks of dirt,
I want to delve into your vocabulary with surgical scissors
and rip away the part of you that believes in bittersweetness
because this world is not a gumball that loses
its taste the longer you chew on it –
you have just forgotten how to enjoy the heart of it,
the body, the shell that cracks under your teeth.
You say the word “bittersweet” and I want to snatch
it off your tongue and say you can have this back
when you learn to use it correctly
because don’t you dare call this bittersweet
don’t you go calling grapes raisins
just because they gave their skin to the sun
don’t you go calling me a hopeless romantic
just because I blew my kisses to the sky.
Your teeth let slip the word “bittersweet” but
your hands say something else –
you put them over mine and I feel
nothing but warm honey.