Breathing: meeting you to present day

I. Your love is a set of brass knuckles,

(I am winded by the force of your grin,)

and those tears are diamond encrusted, I will not trade you for all the

I-love-yous you never gave me,

thinking me childish and a poor judge of character.

We both see potential energy in our eyes

so I don’t tell you I flunked out of

physics, chemistry, biology,

(and A.P. Calc)

because I’m bad at memorization but always recover

(except in Calc).

I will never recover from you, I fear, so I’ll stay here among the empty bottles.


II. Your love is a contract I signed, the smile

we wear so deeply set in

those facial lines telling tales of how our lips romanticize the story of

a demolition derby versus the Great Wall, good intentions versus vanity, Slammin’ Sammy and Big Red 1998.

I weigh my pocket change and pace my steps

and there is always a cost I am willing to pay, banking on investment opportunities,

you are not a banker,

I am interest.


III. My love is that tree in the woods we always say we heard

but you got here too late so it was silent on the ground,

my leg caught beneath it.


IV. My love is a photo album on the top shelf.

Your love is a lie you told in a game of telephone back in 2002.

My love is your favorite band hoodie from seventh grade.

Your love is a torn map in a GPS era.

My love is a mother’s tired sigh from pre-k to college.

Your love is a chocolate bar in my back left pocket at the end of the day.

My love is Christmas with the in-laws.

Your love is always skipping those scenes where the hero dies in the end because you know I hate them.

My love is the fight over the last french fry.

Your love is an apology.

My love is sorry you’re sorry.


V. Silence:

(I know you’re not sorry.)


VI. You never slept in my bed

and I knew the springs in yours like palmistry.

I moved like a marauder, 7.7 miles from my past,

and you never asked but you knew my eager eyes;

now I’ll have a kitchen you’ll never see.


VII. Your name is already off my mouth;

you will not be the last breath in my lungs

so we both continue to breathe.

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