Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest Honorable Mention: Camila Henao/On Love and Muscle Memory

Camila H

If love is like muscle memory
My heavy head will always aim for your chest
In bed, my twitching legs try to find yours to tangle against
My cold hands will always cup the back of your head
Fingers reach for the familiar spaces between yours
My lips curving before meeting
Reach for your neck, the palms of your hands, the edges of your narrow hips
Shaky heart beating against my chest
Same responses, time after time
And again and again and again

But then
Colder now
You began teaching my body a new set of movements

If love is like muscle memory
My heart now tightens in response to your harsh words
My brains unspools and restrings
Itself all day long
In its attempt to understand you
At times I can feel all the tendons and fibers of me
Straining against their learned behaviors
At times they are like gelatin
Betraying me
Extending out from my body like tentacles of forgiveness
At times I can almost see them
T r a n s l u s c e n t
Traveling through thin-tension air
Reaching out from the tips of my fingers, my toes, my lips, my knees
To yours
All these parts of me that hold memories of your body
I say: stop deserting me
As I hold all my parts close, try to keep myself whole

If love is like muscle memory
When you reach
I flinch

Camila Henao is a freelance writer, poet, and photographer from Chicago, Illinois. Originally from Colombia and a recent graduate from the University of Illinois’ English program, her work explores immigration, language, and familial bonds across generations.

Henao has a passion for storytelling through various mediums. Currently, she is working on her first chapbook, traveling and spending time with her two cats.

You can read more of her writing at Camila Henao or at Instagram as camilaheynow

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