My peach yogurt tastes like your skin
in the morning when you used to stay
at my apartment, the leftover sweat
of a night spent loving each other,
and the sun slipping through my *****
blinds, while I'm eating my breakfast
at my desk checking emails, always peeking
over at you, bare-chested, snoring
through the sound of my fan and my music
turned down extra low.
It's five months later and my peach yogurt
tastes strangely like that iced tea
I had instead of liquor on the night my friends
threw a party in my living room, us
sneaking off to my bedroom just to kiss
ourselves through another evening
we'd rather spend in our underwear watching
a movie over smiling in group pictures
or dancing to cheap country music.
It's so much later and my yogurt
still tastes a little bitter, a little sour
on my tongue as I try to swallow
a breakup that's bigger than a jawbreaker.
It still kind of tastes like the bottom
of my sink as I put my dishes in it
just to wake you up, watch you
get dressed in a pair grey sweatpants,
sticky hair that I'd comb through.
It's far too late for me to think about
your hand in mine as we'd walk
as far as we could before we'd have to separate.
It's far too late and far too many people
have intercepted your memories and turned
them into something new to smile about,
but today I pulled the lid off the container
and licked the silver side clean
just to be reminded of how sweet
things like you used to taste.
You dipped into me like a pool
you hadn't swam in all summer, a hole
in the back of your mind you almost forgot
was still there. It was as if you predicted
the big splash, the droplets like crystals
I could see through to your heart, reading
your feelings like a bestseller on a lounge chair,
basking in the sun on the side. You broke
through my surface with your hands, those hands
that strip me down to just my tan
and hold my ribs like a steering wheel, driving
our bodies together as I kiss the chlorine
from your lips. I'd wrap you up in a towel
just to trace the ***** of it from hip to hip,
use that momentum to tell you
how much I love the way your smile looks
when you think my eyes are closed
as we lay on top of the sheets with a fan
circulating in the limited space we leave between
my baby sundress and your khaki shorts,
our bare feet playing with each others toes.
I like the way your hands feel in my hair,
pulling it down the line drawn on my back
with your knuckles, landing in the dimples
of my back like a raft, floating
on the feeling suspended in this moment
where I bite your lip and you sigh into another kiss.
I like how it doesn't get dark until eight,
how you make little circles around my hipbones,
the sound of your laugh as it bounces off my own,
smiling into another push as you pull
my heart over yours into the shade to cool.
We killed the lights and found
the way to each other’s lips like magnets
who had been denied their center of gravity
for awhile. You stripped me down,
measured my sweet spots out in sugar spoons,
and savored me like a treat you hadn’t had
since you were a kid, all the nostalgia
landing on your tongue as you molded me
with your hands. My ribs pushed back then pulled
again, like bread, underneath the covers.
You whispered my name like a song
you can’t let yourself forget the words to.
I followed the map of your neck with my kisses,
retracing my steps as we danced in my bed
to the familiar sound of a tiny fan
and the TV turned down low, the light
making shadows on your cheeks as the screen
changed, my eyes dodging them just to capture
a clearer image of the face I dreamed
and dreamed of again. You know my body
like a monologue, writing me all the way through,
smiling at your favorite parts, and every time
I fall into this routine I hope that maybe
this ending is different, maybe you’ve decided
to rewrite the last page. Maybe I won’t have to look back
at our sour memories, maybe this time
we will leave the bookmark in the same spot
and kiss each other through all those times we said
it had been too long.
I’m not sure you know what it’s like to love
someone you know is only going to demolish you.
What it’s like to give your body to someone
who doesn’t care what it would look like
turned inside out, the beauty of it
dripping from your bones, the words that haunt
you when the lights go out, the dreams you swore
to catch but just nearly missed.
I’m not sure you know what it’s like to watch
for the expiration date, wait for
that last good day before the question
is asked, the “where is this going?”
the self-promises not to reach out to him
days after you’ve gotten the wrong answer.
I’m not sure you know what it’s like to prepare
bomb shelters out of empty Ben & Jerry’s,
your roommate’s wine, your favorite leggings
and a blank document. I don’t think you know
what it’s like to play tag with each other’s tongues
in your bed while you just wait
for it to be empty again.
I love all the things you do,
all the stupid little hair flips and the smiling
between kisses, how you cradle my face like you just know
you’re going to tear my smile apart one day,
but you don’t get it.
You don’t know what it’s like to be the girl
everyone breaks. To have to watch days
on your calendar pass by while crossing your fingers
that today isn’t the day he grows tired of your jokes,
the day he finds the sparkle has faded, the day
the disinterest starts. You don’t know
what it’s like to hold someone you know isn’t ever
going to be yours.
I would have loved to have kissed you through
your polo shirt, to have felt your leather chest
on the palms of my hand, get my tongue caught
in the feeling of yours. I bet you would have held
my face, one of those guys, who cradles cheekbones
like pottery. I imagined us, feet tangling in sheets
as we wrestle each other in a small bed
pinning arms against the headboard, pulling ribs
closer to the other so they can connect
in their respective grooves. I would have loved
to have played catch with your smile, circle
your eyes with my own, nibble your shoulder
as we collide. I would have loved to,
but I'm still being haunted by ghosts in good underwear
who gave me more than just a body
for a month or two. By boys who swore
that the time wasn't right now, but it was coming
as fast as it could. I've been sliced open
by flea market promise rings with crooked diamonds,
and I would have loved to have used
you to stitch me back together. But you
are just a boy with your parents wallet,
sweetness baked into tight khaki's
and some really cool vans. You are not
the remedy I attempt to find in Bacardi bottles
or a blank document or even cups of tea.
You are too good for this part of me.
I'm sorry for teasing you with my jeans
and the bit of skin I let peak between
my belt and the rest of my blouse.
Imagine what that would have felt like
on your belly while the November breeze
crept through your open window?
I would have loved to.
He was cute. His baby face cheeks
were highlighted in the soft yellow glow
of the stage lights before the performance began.
He had on a blue sweater, almost too blue,
with khaki’s I’m sure his mom bought him.
But he smiled at me, constantly, before the lights dropped
while I was pretending to read my program.
Across the theater, he blushed, biting his lips
when he realized I caught him. He was cute.
I think I’ve said that already.
But he was no you.
And can you imagine how guilty, no
how stupid I felt in that moment?
Can you imagine how my heart
must have looked sitting between my heels
on the linoleum floor? Imagine all the pieces
trying to force themselves back together enough
just to smile back at this boy across the aisles.
I’m so done feeling like I’m cheating on someone
who isn’t even answering my calls. I’m done
begging myself to stop cuddling with that bear
you gave me last Valentine’s Day. Can you imagine
the actor I’ve become? Fixing myself up in eyeliner
and turtleneck sweaters that hug me a little too tight
just to seem like I still have it together. I’m just like
those dancers in Cabaret. I’m putting on a show,
smiling at the boy across the aisles, hoping you’re
in the audience, watching me shine.
I’m mad at you for keeping the book open
and not telling me what chapter we’re on,
what pages you skipped, what summary
you tried to read but got bored with.
I’m mad at you for telling me you would stop in
and you didn’t. I’m mad at you for keeping me
in sheets all alone waiting for a phone call,
pretending that I wanted to just stay in and paint
pictures that I’ll tear up anyway, or that I really
really wanted to do laundry on a Saturday night.
I’m mad at you. I’m mad at you and why
is that so hard to tell you? The words reside
in my chest—they are rehearsed. I’ve whispered
them a thousand times to myself in the shower,
about how I’m frustrated and worn down
and confused as to what happened, how I could let
something I swore I memorized slip through my fingers.
Then you show up, clean shaven, perfect curves
from your hips down to your knees, and I lose it.
I swallow all my syllables and drown myself
in a kiss I’ve begged for. I can’t tell you
because I’m scared that one wrong phrase
and I’m out the door, just a girl you used to run away with.
I’m scared that I’m losing something, that I’ll wind up lost
if I disconnect myself from something I’ve envisioned
over and over again in my future. So I don’t say
anything. I just wait until the last possible second, minutes
before midnight, and I cry myself into a bear you gave me,
trying to figure out where I went wrong, what happened,
what page did I miss?