More Than Water

I’d made a habit of telling you what hurt. I always had a new problem for you that needed solving. A fresh catastrophe from which I needed rescuing. I think it gave you something to spend your time on. I think it gave you some use.

But then I found a thing I needed more than water. Afraid to die of thirst, I’d take too much and lose my air. I’d come back for you to drain me dry and squeeze me out and press me flat. Still, I’d plunge back in to soak it up, and you’d be there on the shore to watch it end.

I could’ve done with a little faith in your encouragement. Maybe my drowning made you feel justified in never bothering to swim. But in drifting this way, I’ve lost sight of the shore and I’m filled to the brim and I’ve learned how to float.

So now that I don’t need saving, tell me, what will you do with your day?

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Blow

She’d go to the edge of the peer by the water every day. She’d go there and just try to remember what happened. What the fuck happened and how did it get so bad.

It brought her back to late summer and everything she liked about one season falling lazily into the next and the possibility of it all. It wouldn’t get better, but it would end. And what would come wouldn’t be easy, but it would be new. And it would be cursed, but it would be hers.

It would be bleach white and she could decide what mess to make of it. She did sloppy so well, from the bun on top of her head to the shoestrings tucked into the sides of her sneakers. Everything about her was untied, but she learned early on how to blow in the wind.

She’d go to the edge by the water because maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe it’ll get better. Maybe she’s out of time. Soon the wind will shift, as it does, and she’ll be carried on the same breeze that brought her.

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Thirty Degrees

He likes to be alone when he’s angry. He likes to stew in it and draw this mental venn diagram of all the things he knows to be right and all the ways I’ve fucked up and all the ways that he has compromised. He wants me to “give him a minute”—like we’ve got that kind of luxury in this tiny midtown apartment— and I’m trying to find out how to walk around him without invading his space. He forces me out of his space when he feels I’ve lost the right to be there, so I give him what he needs and I grab my keys and leave.

The winter is like a slap in the face, my cheeks pink and my eyes water and I don’t have anywhere to go. I pull my coat shut and head west toward—I don’t know. Somewhere else, somewhere warm. Somewhere farther than last time, so he can nurse what I’ve broken and I can remember what it’s like to have the capability of keeping things whole. Even now, I know it’s only an hour or so that I’ve got to kill before he starts to thaw to the idea of me again. I know I can go home long before I do. My cheeks pink up and my eyes water. God, what have I done to him that he should burn himself into soot to keep me out of the cold?

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Matter

I’d call you up, but I don’t care much for how this ended. And I don’t want to know where you are. I couldn’t see you when I thought I had you, and I could never hold you though you said you were mine. What’s it matter now?

I know you’re in trouble. I can feel it in my skin. How many times have I saved you? You could never let it heal before breaking it into pieces so small they’re carried away by the wind and I can’t help you.

But I won’t hurt you. And I won’t watch. And I won’t call you, cause you can’t stop. There are more prayers in the sky for you than stars and your name falls from my mouth every night.

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