you’ve got the kind of heart i could settle down in. i don’t know why i said that. i mean, really cozy into and let myself be wrapped up in. it takes a special kind of person to get me to fold myself up into a paper-pebble love note and tuck myself into your breast pocket. you’ve got a snowfall voice, in that everything sounds gentler when you’re saying it. you soft thing. i don’t know how to tell you that when i wake in the middle of the night, i put my hand on your chest — just to check.
for baltimore when i left home, i blinked fast. i fought hard against the heart of it – the churning, tugging, sinking. i set myself in motion again and again, woke up along new waters so often that waking felt unfamiliar in familiar yards. i loved my city and i know she loved me. back then, she greeted me each morning with sweet far-below beeps and golden arms reaching to meet me. we tangled in sheets of snow, rose each day together, hummed harmonies effortlessly. i’m stubborn in my chest now, call this leathery shell home like the tortoise calls his own. a bit of an echoey hull. trudging along yet another foreign terrain of potholes and gazing blindly across new garbaged harbors, indifferent. i can make anywhere feel like home. this city feels like a stretch. she reaches in every direction away from me. the harbor cannot stop the city from bending out over it, the highway from crawling underneath. she’s nearly unstoppable. tenacious, scrappy. she has a stubborn chest like me. she knows how to dig her feet into the mud. and i, foolish i, i thought i left my lungs back in buffalo. never to feel rest again. i should have guessed that this earnest body would make a fool of me. i thought myself unanchorable but god – i fall in love so easy. i can make anywhere home.
Maggie Petrella (she/her) is a Buffalonian poet based in Baltimore, MD. Her work has appeared in Back Patio Press, Dwelling Literary, Variety Pack, Southchild Lit, and others. She is online at maggiepetrella.com or on Twitter @maggie_425.