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Allison Wolf Oct 2019
Four simultaneous calls unknown number familiar area code
I clicked all the necessary buttons to block you yet still your voice
penetrated my messages made my entire body contract into a fraction
of myself I tried to delete them but they never stop

I pleaded with my mom over salted mall pretzels to help her
understand why I wanted a restraining order against you without letting it slip
that your hand had slipped across my face before but secret scars
faded without photographic proof it was you
'there isn't enough evidence against him'

I did planks in thirty second intervals until I felt remnants
of when you pushed me too hard into the freshly mopped floors
wine splattered counters I lie awake listening for a motorcycle
that I am almost certain will never come roaring around the corner
I can't be sure if you ever watched me input the new garage code

I am suffocated by the thought of you I hardly remember which arm
is tattooed with what you're a reoccurring tumor I can't get perfect margins on
I beg myself to cut out the malignancies you have seeded once again
but it doesn't work
it never works.
June 24, 2019
12:00:09 AM
Allison Wolf Mar 2019
I politely fold my
into tiny pieces
sharp sentences sliced
for your comfort
until it is only a soft
‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…’
I am small enough to slide
into your pocket or your pants
but never out
of your grasp
March 2, 2019
11:31:56 PM
Allison Wolf Jan 2019
I thought you were the one.
I imagined us flying to Manila, meeting the entire family,
you proposing on the pristine sands of Boracay or
in the small village where you used to play with spiders.
I thought of possible baby names pronounced beautifully
in both of our families' native tongues.

We grew together, abandoned defenses until you were my only confidant.
I still haven’t recovered from the way you used that against me:
Sealing my confessions into bullets in a magazine and making sure
I was centered in the crosshairs of the scope,
a different kind of target practice.

You were my special kind of poison, the kind that slipped through my veins
unnoticed until it corrupted my cardiac muscle and collapsed my lungs.
I ate away at myself until I was small enough not to threaten you,
and even that wasn’t enough.
I finally got the courage to leave you, but I formed a thick cocoon
around my chrysalis of secrets to protect myself from you
and the next.

It’s been two years and I still have you, your mother,
and every Carlsbad or Mira Mesa area code blocked.
You realized you could invade my voicemail so you rang in 2019,
screaming whiskey-soaked wishes for a better year for us both.
I honestly believe you want that, in your own way.
I wish you the best too, but
I have outgrown you.
January 19, 2019
12:55:55 AM
Allison Wolf Dec 2018
Trauma cemented my secrets deep within the crevices of my core,
yet he cracks my chest and I am a chilled corpse
drenched in formaldehyde, slowly decaying,
laid open for all to study.

Ordinary organs on display, hiding the scars of past mistakes:
bruises from an ex-boyfriend don’t tint the epidermis,
wine that splattered the walls and my white t-shirt
have already left the liver, the folds of cerebrum
unscathed from the demons that scratched
away at my sanity.

He’s seen me naked, vulnerable, and now I’m terrified
that he isn’t interested in understanding –  
just observing – my anatomy.
December 29, 2018
11:24:56 PM
Allison Wolf Nov 2017
You were slightly delusional from handfuls of sleeping pills with
high amounts of diphenhydramine which led to hallucinations.
I tried to reason with you but when you punched the wall,
I felt my entire body contract out of empathy and
my fight-or-flight kicked in and for once,
I chose flight.

Your phone number popped up on my screen,
I answered, ready to tell you that I’d never come back
to this complex to give you another chance,
and you threatened my worst fear.

I panicked at first, then matched your threat with my own,
but mine was calling first responders to take you themselves
so I forced you into my car and you screamed until the vocal folds
across your larynx couldn’t produce anymore curse words.

You stared at the bleached tiles and refused to talk to the nurse in triage;
I muttered key phrases to get you admitted
intermittently between sobs that caught the waiting room’s attention,
especially when I whispered “ex-girlfriend”.

Protocol called for an observation period and the sitter
in charge of watching you for the moment looked up
from her chart occasionally, slyly listening to you
harshly hissing that you didn’t want me there anymore.
I flinched towards the curtains and I slinked along the walls
until I was able to walk out the door and leave you behind.

When I talked to the nurse privately, he ensured you would be evaluated,
that I did the right thing by taking you in, that I might have saved your life.
He promised that we were both safe now.

Except, I am not safe.

It has been two weeks since I left through those sliding hospital doors.
I am terrified that every motorcycle I hear on the road
could be you tracking me down or I will see you every time
I walk out of the class on the same campus as yours or
that I will never be able to open up the walls you made me build
around my secrets that you used as ammunition against me
to validify your anger in arguments that you started.

I imagined a life for us so different from this and now,
I’m not even safe in my own thoughts because
they’ve already betrayed me so much.
Allison Sylvia
October 23, 2017
8:26:13 PM
Allison Wolf Nov 2017
My voice shrank and my entire body sclerosed to stone
when you lifted a hand because I was never sure
if this time would be the time
you took it too far.

The air left my alveoli, travelled through my bronchioles, trachea,
and out through my clenched teeth as you walked out the door,
safe to escape from my lungs because fear
had paralyzed my diaphragm and
overstimulated my amygdala.

It was always a vicious cycle:
My limbic system remembered the monster that escaped your ribcage
when the rage inside that was instilled in you to win wars
that was never fully extinguished came through
yet the same system processed the love I felt
when you played peek-a-boo with my niece on the grass;
even my brain wasn’t sure what we wanted.

Four weeks had passed since:
I said goodbye to our cat because he was yours now,
I took the trinkets I had scattered to make it our home
rather than your place where I stayed,
I erased sloppy alcohol-kissed love notes from the whiteboard
where I wrote the therapy reminders you ignored.

My mailbox filled with emails riddled with depression and  
post-traumatic stress and worry manifested as a knot in my throat
that made it impossible to breathe so I searched for any spare key
and drove the twenty-seven miles to ensure your safety.  

I grasped the doorknob hard enough to trigger Pacinian corpuscles
throughout my skin, terrified of what was just beyond the threshold.
Allison Sylvia
October 23, 2017
7:55:51 PM
Allison Wolf Dec 2014
It had been four months since I started
reading his favorite poems aloud
to crack through congested silence.  

I memorized the way
his nose crinkled up when I stuttered,
his husky chuckle after I read
one of his favorite lines,
the smell of yellowed, dog-eared pages.  

I got to know this man
who had seemingly lost everything
and was just waiting
for his children to visit,
his medications to be dropped off,
to be with his wife once more.

I wore his favorite burgundy scrubs;
it was almost his birthday
and I had a new book to add
to his collection.

They didn’t tell me before I walked in.

It was bare:
the room reeked of bleach,
there were no sheets on the bed,
his few belongings were stuffed
in a cardboard box in the corner of the floor.  

I sat on the mattress and wondered
why his kids were not here  
mourning or making arrangements,
why I didn’t get to see the slight tug
of his lips to form a smirk when
I showed him the new Tennyson
that would now just gather dust.

He left me his anthologies in his will.

*Allison Sylvia
November 30, 2014
4:41:38 PM
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