Heart Shaped Note
For my sister
I flip through past pictures—back when image didn’t matter
as much. I’m making a funny face while she
frowns. What has changed since we’ve been to college? the room
we live in? The city? The friends? Her roommate knocks on her door
but she wishes someone else would answer—a boy to love
perhaps. She’s sick of me asking Why don’t you
Download Tinder? It’ll help you
find a date. She’d say Doesn’t matter
what I do. She needs to practice self-love.
I pull another photo out—in this one she
is smiling—did a boy knock on her door
and compliment her? Her room
is intimidating. Now I’m in front of her room
and notice a sign that reads You
Got This taped to her door.
I think it should read You Matter
instead, so she
can be reminded to love
herself or at least love
her curves and her slight slouch. The room
is cluttered—I’m here to check if she
is doing okay. My words misstep and she screams You
can’t understand—no matter
how many times you knock on my door
and ask me how I’m doing! I leave, she slams door.
If only she knew my failed attempts at love—
how I’ve slept with many women, but I don’t matter
to them before entering their room.
I want to scream through the wall. Others’ affection won’t help you
be okay with yourself! I’m about to leave, and She
whispers I’m sorry. Then she
slides a note under the door.
I’m still upset, but I manage a Thank you.
Glancing at its pink construction paper frame—reads Love
Yourself. That’s close enough— as I retreat to my room,
clinging to it. How did she know? Doesn’t matter
because she must truly love
me. I knock on her door once more—enter her room,
and with wobbly breath, remind her You Matter.
Matthew Feinstein is a twenty-two-year-old neurodivergent poet who recently graduated from California State University Long Beach with his BA in English Creative Writing. He published a Micro Chap titled ‘Lemon Law’ (Origami Poems Project) which delves into the struggles that come with having Autism Spectrum Disorder. His work has also appeared in The Write Launch and Inky Squib: A Butte College Student Literary Journal and has work forthcoming from Cathexis Northwest Press.