Do you know that feeling
when a scab heals?
That’s where I’m at.
I’ve accepted this betrayal,
the temporary wounded
weakness you forced
But I will be damned
if I let it scar.
My skin has shed your fingerprints,
sweated out your judgments,
the ones I swallowed, absorbed
Your bitterness, long gone,
keeps no address on my tongue.
I had forgotten how sweet life tasted
until you left.
You are gone, and I refuse
to bear any of your marks
Do you know that feeling
Thich Nhat Hanh
says to welcome anger,
to comfort it as if
it were a crying infant.
I have done so,
and my anger has stopped
I am quenched and cool.
But, now I can feel the details,
the jagged saw marks, the
rust mixing with the blood
where you hacked us
You could have used something
sterile, a scalpel perhaps,
something to make the cut clean.
Did I not deserve at least that?
You told me
a committed relationship
wasn’t what you needed
anymore, said you couldn’t grow.
Months ago, you were looking
at rings, told me we would make
it to the coast if we believed.
I agreed to a wedding
in your church.
So please, forgive me
if I am having a difficult
It does not matter now,
but I wish you had loved me enough
to give me a better ending,
one cleaner than you
saying you preferred
the taste of her lips
I went to chapel today
for the first time
since you kissed her.
He spoke about
The adulterous woman,
how the only one
felt no desire to cast stones.
How the desire fades, the closer
we come to God.
You are more religious than I.
You know this story,
but where is your piety now?
Pray, tell me,
did you taste peace on her lips?
I am not sinless,
but I am surrounded
by so many stones,
every “I love you.” scrawled
on paper once hot, passionate,
is now cold and dead.
Stones, so hard and heavy.
I cannot say for sure,
when I will stop
counting them, taking stock,
when my fingerprints will fade
from their surfaces.
I have not thrown them,
you know this.
But they know my touch,
and my peace approaches slowly,
but it comes.
When you are cheated on
just days after looking at rings,
you will feel shattered,
like shards of your broken heart
are already piercing all possible
arteries. It is not so. Friend.
It is not so.
Bruised but not broken,
healing will come. I promise you.
Though, you will swear you are dying,
29 months of heartstrings braided together,
16 months of total and complete trust,
You will ache for a clean cut,
the lesser to this evil.
You will not recognize yourself, Friend.
The sobs that claw their way out of your chest
will feel terrifying, animal, a complete departure
from the love songs that flowed from your throat,
your fingertips, the ivory prayers of thanks.
You were golden. And you believed it.
Your own shrieks will haunt you now.
Friend, you will mourn so many things,
so many things,
your composure being one of them.
You contained oceans you never knew,
now rushing to escape in tears.
You can never contain the pressure,
racing to fill the folds of your pillow,
stain the arms and chests and shoulders
of those trying to hold your pieces together.
You’ll swear you are drowning.
And your friends—they’ll stroke your head,
over and over
and over again.
They are fighting their own shock, their rage,
but they will keep you alive,
pump you full of love, IV’s, take shifts,
trying to keep your withdrawals at bay.
your steering wheel will wear the marks
of your fists, oil stains from
your night drives.
Your tires will only kiss two directions,
East to West. West to East.
Over and over
and over again.
The pavement will have no answers for you, Friend,
Time will be your bedfellow now.
And he will not cheat you of your dignity.
You can trust him.
When you told me you kissed her,
I felt the blood leave my arms, my chest,
felt you suck the heat from my body, this final time.
you pulled it straight from my heart,
unlike all those nights you sipped it,
slowly from my edges,
your feet against my calves,
your hands on my heating pad back.
I offered you
a second chance
and you walked away,
warm and satisfied.
You had enough,
and I was empty.
Just scheduled two performances. Woohoo!
If I had to, I could count the number of conversations we had
on a hand obsessed with saw blades,
and I swear
if I focus hard enough,
I can still feel the weight of his body in my fingertips,
the rhythm of walking in that 6-part harmony, a Catholic waltz.
It was the closest I’d come to touching him in ten years.
Convinced me my name meant “Pearl,” but no
Ever spit me out, perfect. No, trial by
Gave me these
I’ll admit some are
Just a touch darker than I wanted. I was a
Misery. I was
Pouring rain. I once
Quit living because I felt too
Then, I have reached a better
Understanding of myself. I am
Volumes, memoirs, letters sealed with
Wax. I am
eXactly the person I should be,
Young, and slightly
Today my life is:
A small dose of
Caramel dissolved in coffee, feelings of
Even though I
Faced a fear, or tried to at least…
Hums from my laptop, as
If I need a quiet
Poor me, I cannot afford naps today. I have to fill my
Quota of stress, meetings, work before the
Seemed to think I should make more
Ultimately though, my
Wreaking havoc on the
boXes of my agenda above other, more sane activities. My
Year is now segmented into days and hours, and those meetings… events, papers, a few
Z’s here and there before the sun come up.
You know how it is,
It was the worst anxiety attack you’d had
in a while,
the one I asked you how I should handle, step by step,
"Prepare me for this," I said.
You laid with your head in my lap,
your tears becoming dark stains on my jeans.
I leaned over, set my face so close,
"Focus on me," I said.
I wanted you to feel me there,
I locked my arm on top of yours,
my palm to the back of your hand,
our fingers intertwined,
a flesh and bone safety bar.
I asked questions,
pulled answers out of your mouth like rope,
uncoiling anxiety laced knots from your lungs.
Every few minutes, I reminded you to breathe.
You stayed with me that night,
after I insisted.
I figured, why should we both have to feel alone,
you with sudden stops, the jarring of falling and being caught,
and me with the aftermath of courage,
You found the ability to breathe again,
your chest opened
as if the keys to those rusty gates
And then my own tears came,
because I never knew where
or why or when
I would want to hold such keys.
I was afraid they would not work,
and when they did, I cried,
and I don’t know why.
I was thinking of your voice,
like champagne I could not wait
when my eyes landed on Peggy’s gun.
She’s talking about timelines now,
when I scream,
when I get released,
what questions they’ll ask during my debriefing.
I cannot remember the color of her eyes,
only her ruby red glasses frames.
This time last July,
you and I were eating cake,
and dodging gnats,
taking inventory of our sparks.
Peggy’s giving Devin permission to be an ass to the crisis negotiators,
but I think he’s more preoccupied with the sweat dripping from his forehead.
Melody’s chair grinds against the tile,
The Sergeant is deploying the throw phone.
Subtleties of acid are starting to climb up my throat,
I can taste it on the back of my tongue,
as if my body thinks this is real.
If it was,
I’d still be thinking
of your voice,
I find your bobby pins everywhere,
formalities you absentmindedly drop
for me to find later.
I hope I’ll forever have opportunities
to hand them back to you,
even years down the road,
when perhaps the pins are lighter shades,
bought to match your greying hair.
I will never have to bury them
as memories deemed too painful
to hold in the palm of my hand.
Allow me to clarify,
I am not the praying type.
I stopped talking to God
the night Mary died,
you know this about me.
on the night I didn’t know
if I would wake up single,
I prayed myself to sleep.
I went through the rumoured
five stages of grief,
over and over and over again,
pausing the longest
Do you understand the marks you leave?
You’ve already left?
My tongue slips into familiar grooves,
I don’t even utter the name of God much anymore.
My curls contain traces of you,
even my hands bear your scars,
and happily so.
My dear, you are worth burning for.
I’m not sure I’ve ever said it,
but I miss your poetry—
the nights we both pretended
we didn’t know what each other wrote.
Even our tension,
the uncertainties and possibilities pulled taught,
the echoing vibrations we both fought to ignore…
I miss that
just a little bit,
but I still do feel traces of those moments on my skin,
when I look down
and find bobby pins.