and all the smiles
came from the inside

“you aren’t really happy”
she leaned over and whispered
tucking my hair behind my ear
to make sure I could hear

“listen,” I said
with a smug knowing
making it clear
I didn’t much care
to hear her opinion
about how I am living
loving, breathing, feeling…

chin up
has been my mantra
for a million years
a girl who makes art
out of tragedy
who keeps coming
almost pathetically)
to fight for what she knows
at the very least is real

and so we post pictures
and strangers say
“it’s so good to see you
so happy”

and I smile (for real)
knowing that
winning (happy) is not needing
you or you or you
to approve of me
and how I choose to be

and still
if I am
most honest
I want
to love me
(in a most adoring
kind of way)

happy, yippee
in love, always
scared, no, I’m effing terrified
ready, for sure
promise, forever
smiles, for realz

and he came
lips soft and full
pressed against the
back of my neck
wet, yes wet
(you know like water
my very favorite
that I can never seem
to get enough of)

and the coolness
that is not me
paused me
(I am all fire and air
you see, it is hard for me
to not keep swirling, rising,
and expanding always
but he, he slowed me down)
in the best
sort of way…

and I recognize
and I remember
being joyful
(I think)
yes, yes
that was me

yes joyful

I am joyful
just like my mamma
made me
with my daddy
full of joy

joy – ful

emily joy
is quiet literally
full of

❤️ emily joy rosen

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