The words laid limp on my tongue but were potent like venom. I fumbled with the shattered pieces of my heart trying not to cut my fingers on the jagged shards he left behind. You were the first breath of fresh air my tired lungs had tasted, but now even your name is stale on my breath.
I pity the woman who will love you
when I am done. She will show up
to your first date with a dustpan
and broom, ready to pick up all the pieces
I left you in. She will hear my name so often
it will begin to dig holes in her. That
is where doubt will grow. She will look
at your neck, your thin hips, your mouth,
wondering at the way I touched you.
She will make you all the promises I did
and some I never could. She will hear only
the terrible stories. How I drank. How I lied.
She will wonder (as I have) how someone
as wonderful as you could love a monster
like the woman who came before her. Still,
she will compete with my ghost.
She will understand why you do not look
in the back of closets. Why you are afraid
of what’s under the bed. She will know
every corner of you is haunted
I’m not saying I’m the best you’ll find because I’m not. I don’t have a straight edge in my fucking body, but I will love you with everything I have.
I wonder if you know yet that you’ll leave me. That you are a child playing with matches and I have a paper body. You will meet a girl with a softer voice and stronger arms and she will not have violent secrets or an affection for red wine or eyes that never stay dry. You will fall into her bed and I’ll go back to spending Friday nights with boys who never learn my last name. I have chased off every fool who has tried to sleep beside me You think it’s romantic to fuck the girl who writes poems about you. You think I’ll understand your sadness because I live inside my own. But I will show up at your door at 2 am, wild-eyed and sleepless. and try and find some semblance of peace in your breastbone and you will not let me in. You will tell me to go home.