I wrote a poem about it, and then threw it away, because that’s the last thing I need right now: More words dedicated to people who will never dedicate a single thing to me.
Making love was never about you and me in a bed. We made love whenever we held hands.
All the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as water. And that’s the tragedy of living.
When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.
In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.
Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway
for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still
believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,
I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing
I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me
is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.
Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.
I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,
I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.
Someday we’ll know why I wasn’t meant for you.
And he loves her. He loves her like he can never grab enough of her between his fingers. And no matter how close he gets, even when they make love, it never feels close enough.
Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.
On your bed, the backseat of your car,
and once, under the flickering light in
the dressing room at that clothing store
in the mall, your skin pressed against
my mouth to suck up all the sound. You
called it what it was, fucking, hard and
erect against my thigh, caught between
my teeth like candied floss. You whispered
it into my ear like you were placing a
personal call to the sea, your voice a lasso
to the thing that was deeply embedded
within me. You told me to say it back and
I did, I did—I said it lowly at first, unsure
and stumbling. I was clumsy with it, it was
a new sound to me, the roughness of the
c slamming me up against the door and
curling tightly in my throat, a knot. Your
leaving was just as painful, a battering from
the outside in. She asks me to say it, my
therapist, that word I will not say now, the
thing that we did to each other in the dark,
under a flickering light, the waning moon,
in places where we thought they wouldn’t
find us. It is a drowning place, that word,
where you took me and did not let me float.
I am not good with words
I cannot look you in the eye
and tell you
You are somewhere
I want to be.
But if you give me just
a little time
I’ll write you into immortality.
Every poem is about someone.
This poem is about you.
PHONE CALLS FROM AN EX LOVER:
call one: when will you write this poem?
there is a girl somewhere with daddy issues,
waiting for you to save her.
call two: the first time you tied me up I fell in love.
call three: please, understand that I am not afraid of you.
I like the way your nails curve. I like the
noises that come from the backest back of your throat,
prehistoric as all.
call four: fuck poetry. stop calling me back.
call five: I’ve stopped thinking about you. but
sometimes my hands remember you,
when I am fast asleep,
call six: what was the name of that movie? you didn’t like the main actor, but I liked him just fine.
call eight: I found some of your hair somewhere.
It didn’t make me sad.
call nine: once I reread your old letters.
I would have forgotten you were such an artist,
if not for the way your words
beat and bled me.
I’m still writing about you and you haven’t read a word.