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a stopping place

these moments are blind with ice, stuck
to the panes of windows
in a broken house, slivers of secrets
trailing between doorways, echoing fights
that have followed us for years
no matter the place we label home.

I cannot remember loving you,
but I can count the ways
I have lost you over time, again and again
reaching out to find
that you aren’t truly there,
even when you are sleeping
underneath the same moonlight.

How do such things happen?
Like madness lit from within, a light
that threatens to burn
everything to ground, to raze
even the smallest endeavor
that might mean we could be okay –
somewhere, in my heart, I know
that okay is not enough.
And yet here I am.
And yet here I stay.

This winter grows, and I know
that I no longer miss you,
or even the idea of you; I am tired
of being alone
in this frost-laden place, this
house where no one truly belongs
and no one dares enough to live.

I am stripped of all promises,
my face blank as a ghost,
haunting my skin, wearing the idea
of someone else’s happiness.
If I were braver, I’d let you go.
If you were stronger, you would leave.
But we are jailed to our history,
each holding the key that belongs
to the Other, ignoring the lock,
a simple failing
to recognize each other’s needs.

this is how it happened:
our bed gone dull, resentment
swaddled around my naked body like a sheet,
a woman no longer, my mouth
gone sharp as knives, a vessel for anger
that blossomed in my burnt heart.

silence burst on the doorstep,
cold words pouring
out of frozen arguments, man
and wife without memories, bodies like stones
smoothed with every insult,
every smile a new façade,
a stopping place,
a wedding cake made of wounds,
a woman crying,
a man dead with forgetting.

And then, her.
A small beginning, a call,
a gathering light flickering
before an open a window, a fierce knowledge
stripped down to the nerves
of a terrible possibility –
her smile may falter,
but she will not disappear.
She is like furniture
between us. She plays your tongue
like a harp, a music pressed to madness.

Careful, do not linger too long away,
careful not to wander after
your own heart. She may love you
right down to your marrow,
her miracle smile might dare you to believe,
offering you shades of a broken mirror
long forgotten beneath the ice –
love like that is a blood promise,
a thing that tends toward death
and all its beautiful repercussions,
as a universe drafted
out of a dangerous skin.

But it is my cold eye you always have to fear,
I own you through and through
and through –
do not think to look for mercy here.

Categories: Poetry
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