Our pain echoes off these walls like
boulders ricocheting right back into
our own chests with every breath
we breathe. The air is heavy and thick
with longing, mine for him
and yours for me.
this is how it happens
it's the last day the temperature will be
above thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit
you're not looking at the date
it's just the end of November
the middle of the night in the middle of a road
at the end of November
the hum of this small town hurts your ears
you're stuck in a dream where everything you see
turns into a weapon
this is how it happens
you knocked back sharp, amber liquid
to make this place feel a little more okay
and it only worked halfway
no matter how soft the edges are
you bruise your hips when you
run into them in the dark
you're ******* on your fourth cigarette when
a police officer pulls over and asks
how you're doing today
in the too-bright white of the headlights
the sick taste of Red Stag sticks to
the roof of your mouth
the mouth that you're moving into a smile
the mouth exhaling plumes of smoke at the ground
you don't tell him what you're really doing
you're really taking all of your
thoughts about stopping your pulse for a walk
you don't tell him you've been
chasing ambulances all night long
please, officer don't leave me alone, you don't say
he tells you to have a good night and drives away
and this is how it happens
the moon smiles at you with every single one
of its tiny, sharp teeth
nobody but your cat finds you in that bathtub
nobody but your cat watches you rise from red water
watches it drip drip drip
from every chasm carved in your left arm
nobody but your cat saw the soft animal of your soul
shiver from the cold that day
it's the first day the temperature
thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit inside your chest
based on true events
you bent me over the pool table when I was fourteen. I don’t know why
the family kept skirting around the issue, resting a turkey atop
the dainty white tablecloth skirt that we hid under
when we were kids and when we weren’t
sure if the hole in the living room window was made from a bullet...
or just dirt.
I could feel your trembling breath
on the back of my neck. Your ****** hairs
caressed my skin as you pressed your lips
into my ear. You drew a breath.
You exhaled. You drew another.
I just liked the sound of your breathing
as we laid curled in each other's arms
in the moonlit glow of your bedroom. I
liked the way your breath heated my
cool skin. I liked the way your chest
pushed against my body with every inhale
as a welcome reminder of your presence. I
could close my eyes and still admire you.
You drew a breath. You exhaled.
You drew another.
like a kaleidoscope of butterfly wings,
the words fluttered from your lips and
my heart trembled like a flame in the wind.
My beloved loves me back.
I drew a breath.