He is the one
who knew me at my worst,
the one I gave
the least of myself to.

He is the friend
I’d hang out with
after the original date had canceled
and all other alternatives had said no.
He is the friend I’d call
with the three leftover minutes
of a one-hour phone card
I’d used to call someone else
just so it wouldn’t go to waste.

He’s at the bottom of my list,
the one I’d made
the habit of taking for granted.
I made him many promises
and kept them only if I couldn’t
find any reason to break them.

He’s the one I’d run to
with bruises on my arms,
smeared mascara,
disheveled hair all tangled up in
self-inflicted sufferings.
He probably never saw me beautiful.
He always heard me
curse at the world,
call it ugly and cruel,
say I wanted to die and leave it all behind.
He probably never saw me happy or thankful.

I’d told him all about
my worst mistakes,
my most irrational fears,
my coldest secrets.
He knows the smallest truths
in the biggest lies I’ve ever told.
He knows how impure I am,
how soiled and undesirable.
He could ruin all my chances
with anyone,
if he so wanted to
but he never did,
and today
he told me
he loved me.

He loved me
in spite of everything
he’d seen and known about me.