Pre-existing Conditions

by Nina Szarka

After this
I’m going to look at you
And know you love me
That you really love me, that you’d grow old
Loving me from your corner
Of this continent
From whatever distances pass between us,
You’ll love me
And I am going to think about the time
I showed you the bruises just before my birthday,
And said Don’t Tell Anyone
How you said it wasn’t my fault
That I was Beautiful
And Worthy of Love
And you loved me when I told you
About the two years of terror
When I lived with a gin-soaked man who had a
Good job
And loyal friends
And now I will hold these, my pre-existing conditions
Like scarlet brands
And know you love me
And helped them do this
To me
And I love you
But love is not bigger
Than capital, than slavery, than complicity
And I will remember this
When I come for
And yours.



Photo credit: “A Convelescent” by James Jaques Joseph Tissot ( 1836 -1902)


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