Poetry & Art

On Love And Muscle Memory

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 brain 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


Author: Camila Henao
Email: [email protected]
Author Bio: 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.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @camilaheynow | https://camilahenao.net/


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