The Sand and the Waves, Thrifted Affection, and Am I incapable of love?

By Kailah Peters

The Sand and The Waves


My mind wanders too far away for sleep to ever find it.

The moon calls to me so I step outside.

Humans are 60% water so we flow like the tides in the night.


Like waves crashing on a beach,

strong, steady and predictable,  

I move toward love.


The sand never reaches for the water.

No, it waits, knowing it is longed for.

That is how love moves toward me.



Thrifted Affection


You only want me

when your girlfriend is away

or being a bitch.


I know you want me

when you give me

heart eye emojis

half-baked compliments

and words void of substance.


The first time you wanted me was junior year.

You asked if we could have a sleepover.

Your mom was hesitant because I have three brothers.

little does she know

boys become irrelevant at a lesbian slumber party.


We shared a bed,        lips,     touch,              and private parts.


In the morning we didn’t mention it.


In the morning your girlfriend came to pick you up.


In the morning I searched the sheets for wet patches

so I could know it actually happened.


They say a person teaches people how to love them.

I think that’s only half true.


I think people teach you what kind of love you deserve.


My father taught me that I deserve love if I give, and give, and give.


My mother taught me that love means making yourself small and quiet

when the other screams louder.


You taught me that I only merit thrifted affection.

Second hand love.

Hand-me-down kisses with holes in them.


I’m in college now.

I take classes on media ethics, feminist rhetoric, and how to become the women I want to be.


In that last class I’m learning that I deserve all the things I didn’t get.

I deserve to scream the loudest sometimes.

I deserve to listen and to be heard.

I deserve kindness for kindness sake.

I deserve brand name, top shelf, limited edition love.


So, when you text me asking if you could drive up to Chicago and hang out

I want to say no.

Gas is expensive.

Save your time.

I won’t give you what you’re looking for

because I’m not the girl you remember.


I won’t hold my tongue and listen to your stories.

I won’t morph myself into what I think will please you most.

I won’t accept the type of love you want to give me.



Am I incapable of love?


Not incapable of being loved

but incapable of doing the act of loving.


By this I mean

I get why you left.


            Every poem I wrote you

            mentioned our breakup.


                        When I wasn’t in your bed

                        I was busy trying to put wildfires

                        inside a lighter.


                                    I get it – I’ve got me to work on.

                                                                        but       you?

You were great.

You are great.


You are kind



                                                                        and empathetic.


Your thin fingers leave bruises in the dirt

because you are quite literally shaping the earth.


I laid my head on your chest.

                                    I kissed your lips.

                                                I looked in your blue eyes.

                                                                        And I didn’t love you.