We’d been waiting in line at Chipotle for half an hour
when you turned to me and said
“If we have to stand here for five more ******* minutes I’m throwing myself in the deep frier.”
I told you that I figured a person could stand just about anything
for ten seconds
Then when that’s over,
you just start on another ten seconds
Our burrito bowls would be here right away
if we just took it ten seconds at a time
So the first night I slept in your bed,
as you kicked me in the side as punishment
for a night’s worth of nightmares dreamt too close for comfort
Each prime number punctuated by another jab I counted
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
One month later at Tim Horton’s I ordered you breakfast.
A sesame seed bagel lightly toasted with butter.
It’s two shades too dark
and when I came home you told me
as far as you were concerned we both belong in the garbage,
slammed the door in my face so I counted
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
Ten weeks before, woke up to knife elbows
slicing into my ribs saying I can’t sleep
So you played architect and I was Pompeii
Finally touching me for the first time in centuries
The dust rising to reveal relief as tangible as ruins themselves
I leaned in to brush my lips against yours,
hands rushed up my cheek and you pushed me,
Just a little too roughly into a forest of flannel sheets and recycled oxygen
I felt thankful that at least you were touching me
In a way that if I tried hard enough I could perceive as romantic
You rolled away like ocean’s waves pushing against the dams of my eyelids
One audible leak and I’d be sleeping in the bathtub again so I counted
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Eight days later at my parents’
Edith Piaf was on my turntable
Your borrowed vape in my hand
I should’ve probably been crying,
But my mind has only ever had one track and missing you took precedence over tears.
Wanting to go back to you feels gross.
It feels wet
It feels nauseating
Why do I want to go back to a place
That was once a home but is now just an apartment
where I pay rent in my ability to sidestep the landmines scattered across floor made of eggshells?
I love you because when you saw me have a panic attack for the first time
You held me until my muscles felt like they hated me a little less
I don’t because when I walked in on you ******* your ex girlfriend
Your thunder shook my tree branch shoulders
So hard that my boughs convulsed and burst the twig capillaries in my eyeballs.
I love you because your stepmother is younger than you are
And that’s just really ******* sad.
I don’t because you say you never did anything that would warrant “this kind of behaviour”
As if loving you had landed me in detention
I love you because you once felt like home.
I don’t because you changed the locks.
1, 2, 3,
For months I told myself that we all crack under pressure
But once I saw that my tremors were coming from your faults
I realized how deep trembles are felt
Love is not an earthquake
Love is not painful
Love is learning how to come home again
Love is ******* magic
I will not delay its happening by wasting another ten seconds on you.