Lilian Scathorn


The happiest poem I’ve ever read
sits across from me at Starbucks & says
“you and happy poems just don’t get along
do you?”
& I laugh because -- I don’t know how to tell you
I could never write anything as beautiful as you are

Me and happy poems don’t get along because
I live my happy
It is frail & hard-won
& I don’t want to miss a single second of it
But my happy is not beautiful
It is small, ordinary, nothing to write about

My sadness -- It demands to act, not just be seen
Like quicksand. It pulls me under so I
Write lines like grappling hooks to pull myself out of the pit
I open my mouth & all you can hear is the scraping
My pain is like years of old garbage piled up in the attic
I sift through it every so often
To find what can be recycled into my newest insecurities

Instead I find a scared little girl
And I carry her out on my back
Scared of loving too much // scared of being too much //  who had lost too much but
oh boy, does she love you
Despite my begging her not to jump into your arms
She was already there, but you
Are a prescribed burn, turning everything I knew into fertile soil
Just the serum needed to soothe my creaking wooden bones
You burn away at all my trauma in the underbrush
Create a home for the seeds that couldn’t live without your heat
Your light, like a torch,
Maybe that’s why I can’t look at you for too long.

As I drowned in that burning house
I told myself I’d never hold you responsible for keeping me warm
Told myself
Nature would have done it anyway
You just sped up the process
Remind myself you will burn yourself out someday
And I will continue to grow

But for now,
I want to take lines from every love song & romantic poem ever written
Weave them into a cocoon of your love
For the times when the smoke fills my lungs
When I can no longer speak my own words
Because they remind me of you, loving me in all the right ways
They remind me
This love doesn’t have to be permanent as long as it’s real
They remind me
There are so many different kinds of love &
You are every one of them

So maybe me and happy poems don’t get along
But that’s because none of them can compare to you
The happiest poem I’ve ever read.

Lilian Scathorn is a poet and author from Las Vegas. She is getting two Bachelor's degrees from the University of Colorado in the spring and currently calls Boulder, CO home. She works closely with and has been published in Spit Poet, a community led poetry publishing project that empowers poets to distribute their work as a team. She is currently working on her first novel and chapbook. When she isn't writing, she's going to poetry readings or working with kids with special needs. Twitter her @loony_lili