journals upon journals; all for you.
The last time I wrote a poem for you
It was a long list of apologies for all
of the wrongs I’ll never tell you. I thought
it would be the last one I’d write, but
now that we’ve reconciled, I’m back at
the pen again. They’re not love poems
like they used to be, and I don’t let you
see them. They’re all of my uglies:
the stretch marks, the cellulite, greasy hair,
and puffy eyes that I’ve always hidden
from you. These poems encapsulate
the way I curl my fingers up underneath
my palms so you can’t see my scraggled,
bitten nails and the slow growing of my hair
so that—when you finally get to—you won’t
feel like you’re fucking a boy.
Tonight we fought again,
this time about the absence.
Not of you from my bed but
of the I that’s conspicuously
missing from your I love you.
I wonder where you went in
the phrase. Much like my bed,
it feels empty without you in it.
Now there’s no escape from the longing,
No magic salve on foreign mattresses to
survive another day in the cold, cruel shadow
of your absent affection. I am caught in your
cross hares and a catch-22 where your
ideas in theory and in practice shear against
each other with the force of a Category Seven
earthquake and I’m straddling tectonic plates.
As always, it’s my fault, not the one I’m
balanced on, if I don’t handle this gracefully.
You will retreat beneath your crust and
melt down all my feedback to absorb into
your mantle. I’ll be left again, alone, arms
wrapped around my knees because
if anyone else should touch me I’ve
committed a sin against you.
We’ve had another fight,
this time about the distance.
Not the physical space that
separates us, but the vast,
cavernous pause that takes
place after I ask you how
your day was and you reply,
always sullenly, “okay.”
And afterwards, there’s nothing left.
But I’ll try again tomorrow, baby,