I. do not look at her.
do not make eye contact.
do not believe in her.
when she sketches your cheekbones in charcoal,
and swallow your heart back into the back of your rib cage.
II. there is paint.
there is always paint;
in her hair, her clothes, the space between her fingers.
wash it away but do not linger to touch her skin.
do not look at the painting.
III. when she gasps into your mouth,
electric and wanting,
swallow it down.
keep it safe in the hollows of your bones.
bite her lips and turn them red
(the same red she paints your still-open wounds).
IV. when a girl finds she loves another girl,
does that revelation make a sound?
the answer is:
your heartbeat racing in your chest,
your breathing open-mouthed and heavy,
your tears as you wonder how the world will react.
V. if she ever gives you a painting, a sketch, a symbol,
keep it hidden.
keep it safe.
do not touch the delicate lines of her art.
do not ask for more.
VI. she will leave lines of ink on your arms
and bruises on you shoulders;
hide them beneath sweaters and concealer.
hide your love underneath the monolith
of all she feels for you.
VII. when she puts her life in your hands,
hold it gently
hold it possessively
hold her hand on a busy street.
buy her new pencils and let her kiss the corner of her lips.
VIII. become art.
she is an artist;
artists will make art out of broken things.