Poetry & Prose

When You Were Held

This poem was written using compiled responses from Tufts students, who responded to the prompt, “love is pain,” on a typewriter set up in the campus center.

Life is not simply one thing,

It is some impossible amalgamation of pleasure and pain,

Love and hatred.

Sometimes, the most beautiful things are the ugliest.

There are no laughs without cries, they are the same release.

There is no love without pain, they exist in tandem.

Not you, though.

You have put in the work, that’s what real love is:

You know them,

You feel them,

You are them.

But you, too, exist in tandem.

When you lose them, 

You don’t know anymore.

When you lose them,

You don’t feel anymore.

When you lose them,

You lose some part of yourself.

It was amazing, chaotic, confusing, and intoxicating. Right?

It was perfect and awful.

You were tricked, I say,

Love is pain.

I know you were pulled in—love is quite persuasive,

It was everything, and nothing.

By the time you realized that, you were too late.

Is that why when they held you, you felt loved and still alone?