rubber rolls –
the butcher’s best!
heaving slabs of
a collar of spit
a beggar’s garb,
mucous fingers and
pancake batter for arms
i wish i could swallow.
there’s room in the pit,
a boulder in my chest-
i am worried for her spirit
so thin you could not hold it.
my love might not be a showering of words
but a slow, observant eye.
it is not ‘i love you’
so much in letters
as in a splash of colour.
it is the every day,
the clapping of your heels,
almost imperceptible nods,
when you Google-searched the difference
between baked and roasted salmon.
I want to be in control of how I feel
because I’m still angry and I hate anger
and I hate that you’re the reason –
didn’t I always want to be a strong girl
who can love without flinching,
a smart girl who can pick her own battles
but I’m hurt every time I hope for the best in you
and I’m losing when it’s not a game,
worse still because I see your goodness –
just not in the way I need it most.
I envy how you compartmentalize me,
minimize me, set me aside as if for paint to dry
until you decide to miss me, us, our something.
But as much as it would diminish the hurt,
I would not trade it for how cruel you can be.
In another life
You tousle his hair and it’s strangely light
— a dirty blonde. Must have skipped a generation.
And you refer to him as “buddy”.
It is a dream that I spit on for its
cheesy fucking sentiments.
I want to be sweet to you.
Then I want to delete you.
You call for me.
Then you leave me.
You must be tired, too.
You know when your body tells you something and you can’t read it? Like, when you’re craving coffee does this mean ‘more’ or does this mean ‘rest’? It’s like walking along with your earphones in and snapping your neck at the sound of a siren, forgetting for a moment that it’s part of the song. Like, when you roll out of bed with him and you wonder: is this lust or love? Do I hate the professor or do I hate the challenge? And then you decide that this is it, this is the reason. “I’m just on my period” and the room is silenced. She taps you on the shoulder and cocks her head. “Hey, why aren’t you outside with the rest of us?” She hands you a beer. “I don’t know, I just want to be alone for a bit”. And it’s the perfect answer for the chronically inadequate. It’s like going vegan because you believe the body should be meatless. Do you know what it’s like to eat plenty but still feel empty?
That amazing feeling of turning a corner and feeling the cool of the shade, pine tree shadows skimming over my skin. They don’t look real either: they’re running in front of me, in sync. Moving figures, two dimensional. Watch as they faint away into the set.
These days I’m a fan of brevity. Cut to the chase before I throw my heart where it’s not enough.
I see myself stepping off the ledge, aiming for the spot between the two buildings. I imagine the drop, the windows flying above my head and then disappearing. I wouldn’t do it out of despair, no. I’m just no longer afraid.
Sometimes I dream of people with faces that don’t belong to them. On the surface, I don’t get it right, but I feel the centers of everything, the souls of objects… Your voice, though. I know that voice. I hear it through different mouths, different lips, and I’m searching for your pair. I think I fancy people who look like traces of you– like you’re the first draft, the outline an artist makes before they begin.
I hold onto the voice, thin and wispy through the phone. I think I must have been the one to call you, because it’s the one thing I try not to do when I’m awake. I ask how you’ve been and I don’t ask because it’s the polite thing to do. I want to know. I want to imagine the new place, your home. This other world. Do the pillows match the curtains? Are you happy? Are you in love? Tell me how you feel, so I can recover who I’ve missed. Will you tell me how you are? I grip the phone, press it against my ear, and quiet myself. I want more before –
I lose you. The empty buzz over the phone, the connection gone. I hesitate to dial again. Will you call me back? And it wrenches my insides, realizing that I’m always calling first. Will you not surrender? Because here I am, waving white flags and poppies.