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KM Hager Jul 2012
I tell everyone that
you broke my heart.

But if I press my fingers hard
against my chest,
a little to the left of the bone in the center
that’s curved to fit the shape of the right side of your temple,
I can feel the steady
thump, thump, thump
of it,
still alive,
still in one piece,
still beating. I think
my heart is stronger than my body
most days,
when I can’t force myself out of bed
because my pillow still smells
like your shampoo and
my heart still beats:
thump, thump, thump.

When my knees give out
because I find your
“Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning”
textbook right where I told you it would be,
my heart still beats:
thump, thump, thump.

When I stand in front of the fridge,
staring at the notes you’ve written
in the margins of the takeout menus,
my heart still beats:
thump, thump, thump.

When I lay down on the floor and
stare at the Casio keyboard under the couch
where you left it,
my heart still beats:
thump, thump, thump.

When my fingers,
still melded to the shape
of your hand,
can’t grasp the doorknob
or my next drink
or the telephone to call you,
my heart still beats:
thump, thump, thump.

I tell everyone that
you broke my heart
but I think
the only thing you left whole
was my heart.

The rest of me is thrown around the room
in broken bits and pieces,
memories littered like body parts
across the hall
and the floor of a room I once called ‘ours,’
but my heart still beats:
thump, thump, thump.

My heart still beats
like eerie jungle drums in the dark,
like a clock and I have a hangover,
like a leaky faucet and a copper basin:
thump, tick, drip.

My heart still beats.

(You didn’t break all of me yet.)
KM Hager Jun 2012
i hope they don't push in the kitchen chairs.

i built this house
from a one-bedroom apartment
to a home,
with the touch of a good woman
floors packed down with
the heavy stomping of two boys
learning floor hockey.
i lived here.

i hope they don't make the bed.
i never have and i never will
has always been my -
i never will.

i dug a hole for the pool,
filled it with sunburns
noodles, tubes, splashing,
summer nights after the sun went down
shoes and clothes by the back door.
i lived here.

i hope they don't put away my TV Guides or
tidy up my recliner pocket.

i filled the cracks in this driveway
with band-aids to cover skinned knees
paint flecks from the garage
that started red but
turned white with age.
i lived here.

i hope they don't put my favorite mug back on the shelf
where i have trouble reaching it.
where i had...

i hope they don't clean,
paint it fresh
to make it seem
new again.

i collected this dust and those scuff marks around the corner of the stairs and the dent in the wall we hid behind our wedding photo.

i hung these memories.
i tore down the wall in the bathroom
and the one between me and my boy.
i lived here.
i built this house.

i lived here.

i lived.
KM Hager May 2012
it starts as the first day of our first year ends:
the sun's fading rays reach out
to touch each snowflake
       (like lazy sundays
      baby come back to bed)
before it hits the ground,
or the dog's nose,
or the very tip of tongue and fingers,
pulsing magnets for the tiny flakes,
drawing them in.

she stands on the cracked bottom step of our sinking porch,
arms and mouth open,
stockpiling snowflakes
she'll want to save in a jar on our windowsill
       (like catching fireflies
      there's one there)
though they'll melt as soon as she seals the lid.

her hands will be December-morning-cold
when she presses them into the spaces
between my top and bottoms,
against the skin of my hips,
made for her hands alone,
but her breath will be July-afternoon-hot
against my chin
when she leans in to kiss me,
a snowflake and her words caught between our lips
      (it's snowing)
KM Hager May 2012
your body is warm around mine


sunday night in an ugly christmas
sweater after a few beers

saturdays in flannel
pants and cups of hot chocolate

wednesday afternoon in my brother's
sweatshirt with a bowl of soup

tuesday morning in fuzzy
socks and three cups of coffee

like your hand in mine as we cross the street
like your legs around mine as we curl up on the couch

like drinking tea from the same mug
our fingers laced through the handle

KM Hager May 2012
i was twenty,
home from school one weekend
for hugs and home-cooked food

down the dark staircase leading to the kitchen
for water
i saw the light under the laundry room door
so i went
across the tile floor
bare feet still pink from the shower
over loose dirt from my father's construction site
i pressed myself against the door as tight as a i dared

she was in front of the dryer,
pulling clothes out by the handful -
my dad's work shirt, her weekend sweats, socks,
the basic training shirt my brother gave me when he left

i watched her
hold it in her hands
pull it against her chest
curl around its warmth
the way she curled around my brother
that afternoon
inhaled slowly
turned the shirt inside out
one sleeve over the other
placed it in my pile

so i went
back across the kitchen floor
no cool glass of water in my sweating palms
but a burning wetness pooling in my eyes

i put it on in the morning
still warm
as if she took it to bed
held it all night long
the way she held him when he was born

she spends the morning with her hands
on my shoulders
******* the cotton fabric
as if it's fading with every passing moment

she calls me by his name
i don't question the long hug goodbye

but i start saving laundry to bring home for her
KM Hager May 2012
they'll lock us in to quiet us
close the door,
turn the key,
and swallow it.
the walls will be soundproof but
our hearts will be deathproof and
our voices will shatter the glass in the small windows
that let our light out.
when these walls come down around us,
they'll hear me screaming for miles in every direction:
i love you echoing in time with the sound
our our heartbeats
and no locked door can stop that.
KM Hager May 2012
you remind me
of the first time i saw a flower

how i


each petal

she loves me
she loves me not

until i had nothing left
but a stem
and a memory

of something beautiful i
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