Amanda Helm Apr 2014
the first time I heard you speak,
I felt your compassion roll like tumbleweed
over my spine,
sending shivers everywhere
I had never been touched.

we have not kissed,
but I have tasted every ounce of your subtleties.
Will you remember me after this?
Will my words make their way into your dreams?

you build your words like sandcastles
and the tides fear your strength,
your knowledge,
your grace.

I hope you look me in the eyes the
next time you see me.
I hope you see the new beginning
within my irises.
my pupils are calling your name.
will you call back?
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
My grandparents divorced 22 years ago.
My grandma has remarried three different times
and my grandfather hasn’t even looked at another
woman.
When I asked him what went wrong,
he said, “You can love someone with everything
inside of you, but you can never make them
love you forever. I was a fool to think she
wouldn’t leave me.”
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
“The first time I ever saw you,
you were staring up at the stars.
I walked up and started staring too,
already feeling the crick in my neck,
but I asked you, “what would you do
if they all just disappeared and stopped
showing up every night?”
You got this big smile on your face
and you replied, “I would simply track them
down and continue following them
until I could mimic the way they dance.”

In that moment, I wanted to follow them, too.”
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
When I left,
he screamed as the door was slamming,
“no one will ever love you the way I did!” He was right,
they will always love me better.
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
you told me five years ago
that I had too many problems
that you didn’t want to deal with.

I saw you with your new boyfriend
in a grocery store last week.
your eyes were cold and you clung to
his leather jacket.
I heard you laugh three aisles over
and here I am
still afraid
everyone will leave me like you did.

i used to think i was just fine.
I used to think my problems were just small faults.
maybe you were right all along.
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
when we were lonely,
we quilted our sadness together
and we buried ourselves underneath it.
we told each other we were in love
we told each other this could last forever
we were honest
but we were young and
when you’re nineteen, forever always runs
out time.

we had to take the stitches out
and separate what we had once loved
putting together.
our love was a wishbone, broken in two,
representing everything that ends
and everything that could never come true.

it’s still you
it’s still you
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
“do you know we never said one word directly
to one another alone in our bedrooms?
we only looked at each other through
our wireless routers and we waited
waited
waited
until one of us cried so we could end the call.
we were talking in circles,
we were forgetting what it meant to be alone
we were trying to warm our hands by the fire
but we forgot the fire went out long ago
i love(d) you
i love(d) you
i love(d) you
and you aren’t really past tense
but you have to be paste tense now, don’t you?

i don’t know if im a coward
of if the night i left i was just cowardly
but i love(d) you
but love stopped being enough when I saw the tunnel
caving in on me
and I saw my lungs giving out when giving you cpr
and i knew i could never love you like you deserved
i love(d) you”
Amanda Helm Apr 2014
this is the first time you said hello and the time I ignored you on the elevator because I did not know yet that I loved you. these are the sheets that went untouched the first night you kissed me — you did not want more. This is the moment we romanticized my unshaved, prickly personality and made it something that could break.
Here it is -
all the moments you picked apart when you said goodbye,
strewn across the bathroom floor.

I ate your words like breath mints,
Tried to savor them, make them last forever,
so I never had to forget how you tasted,
but they burned a hole in my tongue.

explosive words are not meant to be consumed.
love was never meant to be toxic.

I have written three hundred and sixty seven poems
about our departure and my readers
tell me that I am unoriginal now.

I am still writing to heal my ache.
I am still writing to get it right.
if I am being honest, we tried too hard in the end.
I knew you were leaving when you put the toilet seat
back down and you did the laundry.

you cleaned the whole house and I knew you were
scrubbing every inch of yourself out of our home.
Whether this was for me or for you, I do not know.

I stare at these words you left me - these moments
we used to love.
I set them on fire
and wonder if I’ll catch, too.
Amanda Helm Mar 2014
I lost myself for you. I dug my ribs out of my own
chest and planted them around your house.
I pulled my intestines out, inch by inch, and wrapped them
around like Christmas lights in the tree in your front yard.
They told me that love was being beautiful for someone,
being ugly for someone, being better for someone -
they never told me that it meant being me, so
I lost myself. I do not mean to be gruesome
when I talk about how I loved you -
but this was all I knew. I only
knew how to be a vulture, standing
over my own rotting carcass on the side of the rode,
picking myself apart.
Savagely tearing my own body out of the turkey
on Christmas Day,
making a wish over myself, I ripped my wishbone body in two.
I wished that you would love me forever. I lost myself for you.
When you did not love me forever,
I did not know what to do with my remains.
I am a better ghost, now. I never knew how to be human.
I never knew how to not give myself away.
Amanda Helm Mar 2014
I have loved you more fiercely
than I have
ever loved anyone
and it frightens me
it breaks me
it drains me
to know I can only say these things to
poems that will never love me
and can no longer say them to you.
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