a letter came for a dead man today
and i was certain, if i looked down, i'd see a ******, mangled mess beneath me where my heart sputtered and dropped right out of my chest cavity
as i watched, through a stranger's eyes, the pad of my thumb smear the ink of your name
the serrated p's and t's slicing open the makeshift stitches i used in vain to yank close the gaping hole left by your gravestone
five hundred and eleven sunrises I have seen without you
counting each one like I counted the letters you never wrote me
because I wrote you letters, but they never left the sweaty lines of my palms.
& i wrote you sonnets, couplets, painstaking metaphors like how my heart living inside your hands was like a telescope reaching for moons.
but that's the thing. you left mine unwound, dangling towards the ground and all that my lips held never reached your sky.
all ever i wanted was to make my stars and moons live inside your eyelids.
but my wishes were like flowers left next to tombstones, and you never brought me daisies.
five hundred and eleven mornings I’ve awoken
and found my hands disgusted with the way my body moves beneath me
and it wasn’t until you took your last breath that I started being grateful for mine
I hurt, do you see?
i could write you more than one poem about suffering, as routine as a heartbeat
the things i've done, the mistakes and places and the ways i've lost my pride and grace for the sake of sanity
i've spent too many hours weaving windflowers between my fingertips
hoping the stinging vines stealing circulation will bleed safety
hoping if I say your name enough times it’ll lose its incantation
but you were a magician
and I’ve still got too much pride to admit that I thought I could get rich on the lies you pulled from behind my ears
you told me that you loved me
you told me that you understood me
you told me that you needed me
you told me that you wouldn’t leave me
five hundred and eleven days ago I learned that the things you told me were as worthless as the promise you made to keep breathing
and now I’m second-guessing myself on the corner, begging strangers to tell me i’m worth something more than the words you imprinted on my lips
all this time I’ve spent trying to make the pieces of my shattered self fit together in the same way they did before your eyes became the reason that I opened mine
I don’t care what they say
They can’t tell me I’m wise for my age when I let you redefine the truths of my own existence
But I’ve had 511 days to rewrite this one, and I’ve got enough modesty now to tell you the truth.
when you died, you stole all the ways I ever felt validated
you had my secrets in your pockets, my innocence like an offering on your altar
when you took your own life, you did me a favor
A letter came for you today.
i ripped it up.
this piece incorporates many other parts of poems i have written over the past four years, i performed it recently.