Don’t forget to tell me good-bye when the time’s right. Don’t forget to hold the door open and watch me leave. Don’t forget to keep that smile on your face and, please, don’t forget to dream about me every night after.
When the next one whispers how much they love you when they think you’re sleeping, don’t forget to hold your breath and pray they don’t know you’re awake. Don’t forget to distance yourself and stop answering the phone. Don’t forget what those words sounded like when they came from my lips.
Down the road when you hold the-one in your arms and look at their sleeping face, don’t forget to picture mine. Don’t forget the feeling in your arms as they ache to hold me instead.
When things stop working and they leave you, don’t forget about the way you left me. Don’t forget the sway of my hips, or my tensed jaw.
Don’t forget me.
His legs hang over the side of the railing and his eyes stare straight ahead. Between his fingers is burning death and he takes every drag slow and meticulously, willing it’s magic to work faster.
Bright lights shine from down below and he contemplates his options. Guiltless chance or a surefire suicide. Maybe it could look like an accident.
Smoke gushes from between parted lips and he’s grown to like the taste.
He wonders how many flowers have grown in his graveyard chest but thinks maybe he’s barren. It feels like he’s barren. It feels like all he is, is death waiting to happen. Eyelids shut tightly and he wonders why it has yet to happen.
One foot slips behind the other and a shoe dangles precariously above the rushing traffic. He thinks of this as picking petals off of roses; to, or to not.
Instead of letting chance make it’s mind up, he takes both shoes off and lays them beside him. Knowing they’re safely next to him gives him a false comfort and an unsettling ache.
His mind wanders into the crevices of his thoughts that he blocks off in the daylight, the caution tape torn off. There are dark bags beneath his eyes and he can barely remember the last time he slept. The ache never wanes and the tired never gets comforted by sleep.
Burned to the end, he flicks his cigarette to the ground and slowly, so slowly, he lets himself rise to the challenge of not actually jumping when he can. Instead he turns and grabs his shoes, stepping down from the metal railing and letting himself enter into a more sturdy ground.
Not tonight, he thinks.
You can find me in the lock-jawed silence of every word I have never spoken when it meant the most – when the bombs were planted at the base of every heartache and mistake, and I only stood watching, mouth zip-tied shut.
I let the ruins of shattered memories fill me with ghosts I have never learned to forget, and at night they come out of my throat like flames.
Can you find the war still going on behind my eyes, and can you feel the loss inside me?
The shadows feel like old friends with daggers pressed into my back, but I hold them with love I’ve never stopped feeling. I whisper with my last breath that I will save them, when I never could. When they could never save me.
He called it trauma.
I didn’t even think the shell of myself was so cracked.
How was I supposed to know this is what it feels like when the war has gone on for years? Even though the white flags were raised, no one can let go of the anger.
I didn’t realize I was still dealing with the aftermath.
The sinkhole of my mouth,
the tragic words I whisper
when his eyes close for the night.
I never tell him I feel like lost tupperware
hidden somewhere on the top shelf,
in the very back.
When the connection feels lost and
somewhere along the lines
he could no longer feel me,
it’s heartbreaking to say my fingertips
still remember the skin of his back
when he lied down facing away from me.
He said I stopped looking at him
the same, but his image is still burned
into the back of my head,
and I will think of him every night
he no longer sleeps beside me,
and I will feel the lack of his presence
every time the bed doesn’t dip
from his weight. He said he no longer
knew if I loved him.
I will carry the weight of my failure,
of the love I never learned to express,
and the burden of my closed lips.
I don’t drink much. I can remember the last time I was drunk,
and that was months ago. One, maybe two. Then I’m done.
Being drunk only amplifies whatever mood my heart is in.
But one or two, and that softens it. The gray sadness
becomes a little more dull, a little more bearable.
Tonight I’m drinking water and it occurs to me;
I want a drink.
I wonder if he can feel me shiver in the middle
of the night when I’m lost in dreams you made into nightmares.
I wonder if he notices the way I trace
the ink on my skin and picture a hand of the past.
If I could I would make so many promises,
but I don’t trust myself to keep them.
My tongue has turned into ivy and they
wrap around words too soft for me to bear.
My skin has added a few layers from the cold
you left me with and I forget how soft
I used to be. That’s the thing, though.
You’ve taken who I used to be,
and twisted it.
His hands trace every scar I’m laced with,
kisses each dent and jagged edge as though
he could somehow fix my broken bits.
The worst part is, though,
I let him.
All I can think about is watching the sunset with a glass of something sweet.
Then we slow dance our way inside where you let me read your palms and you attempt to read mine. The florescent light from the kitchen bathes us in yellow and we slow dance in our bare feet on the cool tile.
The forever-present weight on my chest finally doesn’t feel so threatening and I can breathe right now with you. Tomorrow can dance before my eyes and I can sigh with a soft comfort in the safety of your arms.
Somehow we make it up the stairs and fall into old dreams still lingering in our sheets. Our fingers intertwine and we lose sense of who is who and all I know is I’m complete.
All I can think about is our love.