I was almost unconscious
wondering how long it would take for you
to strip every strand of 'go back to sleep'
from your skin
like a cheese stick
and I fell asleep
to the hum of milk curdling.
It felt like I hadn't slept in days.
I swore not to have an opinion
but when you pushed me to speak needle to skin,
I said I thought butterflies should
make cocoons in the spaces between your ribs.
I said I wondered how your skin got so thick, bones so strong,
how your heart pumps so fast,
you told me you were used to it-
and I momentarily pictured you in a meat tenderizer.
With your head draped apathetically over the edge of the counter,
I never told you I loved you
but it was never the truth.
We poured ourselves into crystal glasses to tempt each other
with never a doubt in our minds that the poison would start to eat away at our insides.
We liked the sensation of acid on flesh,
of truth burning holes in the things
we were so **** sure we could get away with forever.
I wanted to be more than unconscious when you told me
these hands of ours aren’t made to sculpt masterpieces from each other’s skin.
That we're all unbreakable next to the razor's edge.
I hummed myself a lullaby and wondered where the razor went.
Perhaps it will be there for you as well as I wasn’t and perhaps
you can learn to love it as well as I didn’t.
I wanted to be more than unconscious
when you told me you already had.
This blood sport love is not sustainable.
I have re-drafted this poem 5 times in 3 years.
My lips are cooing in shapes like
dear and deer and sweet,
in ah's and odes and destructive comparisons
like ghosts playing tug of war with no rope burn.
I am an arm's length from ooo and you
and today loving you feels
like trimming one half inch off my hair everyday.
I can't see your mouth from here but I know it is
dripping with salt and 'go back to sleep'
in rounded o's
and I am wondering if
maybe one day the edges of ourselves will drag against one another
and we'll grind to a halt on each other's skin.
I am wondering if you can overdose on language.
too many whispered ‘i love you’s and soon
they become inky ‘I.O.U’s and debt has a different meaning
when it makes your ribcage feel empty.
If the dotted i’s of a letter become swords after a while and
suddenly you do not care if the pen is mightier, could you bear to read these promises anymore?
I wonder if maybe too many best wishes can be deadly too,
so i have burnt your letters but i am laughing because
maybe i am an addict of your words and maybe it is like
throwing out the substance after it has already killed you.
Since you’re already gone, I should tell you that I hate your hands.
They are dripping with salt,
Leaving a trail from my bed to a place I am not welcome,
where you’ve hidden my goodbye, and the breadcrumbs to get me home.
These hands of mine know nothing of gentle or guitar strings or letting go,
They are a gravedigger’s caked fingernails.
They are a decade’s yellowed wrists.
They are swollen palms carrying temporary I love you’s
Or murky I.O.U’s and they cannot tell the difference.
They have tried.
Something was kicking at the back of my knees even in our warmest nights
nights where I was busied tracing freckle constellations on the back of your neck.
Since you’re already gone, I waited too long to tell you that second chances have been
following behind me like a carcass dragging, that my fingers are begging to be buried in a coffin where there is still room to kiss.
And since you’re already gone,
You should know that my hands feel like throwing away
The substance after it has already killed you.
They can’t hear your apology six feet under.
There is a hook of another woman’s perfume
hanging from your neck, trailing behind you
like a carcass dragging. It smells of flood
and I am keeping myself from drowning
I have counted the chairs in your room,
the wrinkles in your sheets and there are extras
for every time she rolled over to ask you
who I was.
Did you tell her?
For anyone else, there would be chances
handed out for every second glance, every
dial tone. For you, there are only choices,
sour and tired from being given away.
Chances and I
have that in common.
— The End —