it’s just that whenever i think about you i can only ever picture you in your dark bedroom. we did go other placed didn’t we? to be fair, i really did only ever see you in the late night or early morning— you had so little time. (at least that’s what he’d tell you.) your bed was our version of a playground, so sweet and free and innocent (yeah right). i’d always take the left, because you had to be right, but giggling and shimmying i could move you wherever i wanted. (i could kill him for these moments). every night of course ended with gilded words of love and well wishes, and every morning i couldn’t wait for you to wake up. we had our own little cathedral there, under your mother’s stain glass quilt, our sanctuary from morning light. (but what in there was sacred?) stumbling fingers, tumbling words, night by night i gave you everything i had to give. (empty, empty, empty.) yes and i did so joyfully, because you wouldn’t hurt me, would you babe? (you foolish girl—)
how about picturing yourself, now, picturing yourself on that cold tile bathroom floor, retching out your own words that you would never dare to say out loud to him. how dark you felt, and yet how well you kept it together when he knocked on that door. how many months did it take for you to tell him about your anxiety? and that was only after he caught you crying in his bed. all those moments of hesitation and second guessing and doubt, why you wrapped yourself up in them like a pretty pink bow. and oh, yes, now remember that time you tried to show him your writings but he insisted on having his way instead? a true gentlemen, what a prize. darling you were so lonely in his presence that you had to hold him closer to keep it from escaping. had to trace your fingers around his face, your name in his skin so you had to stay his belonging. over and over in cursive you signed your name on his back, his arms, his neck-didn’t you realize you were signing a contract? you sad little doe, don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming. what about picturing yourself after he would quiet your opinion with a shrug and a halfhearted kiss? and all those times he thought a nice “oh,” or a “hmm,” would suffice. he wouldn’t even read that goddamn kurt vonnegut book for you, no matter how many times your pretty little lips asked. so blissful you two were, oh sure, oh yes darling, and now you’re left wrestling your blankets in your violent sleep. you fooled him enough times to have proved you could, dear- now it’s time to stop fooling yourself.
i saw a picture of you the other day. it caught me off guard. it made
same smile, of course dear, and same perverted banter. likely he
miss you more than i’d be willing to admit. i miss waking up to you, i miss
was drunk that night too, surprised? sure, so you could say more empty
your voice telling me you think i’m beautiful, i miss your dumb white
words to shut him out . oh yes so pretty, and smart, and what else were
truck and your terrible singing voice. how long will i last without you?
you to him again? nothing. absolutely nothing. oh please, you’ll be fine.
trust me, my heart. you’ll be fine, fine, fine, fine, fine fine fine fine fine.
darling, didn’t you hear me? you’ll be golden.
you keep your hair like that because i told you to. it shows off your cute trail of moles that lead to your dimples, it looks better after you take your baseball cap off- even when you’re sweaty.
you keep your hair like that because i told you to. and now other girls are going to tell you they like your hair that way, too. now other girls are going to push your hair back with their hands near your face, outlining your trail of cute dimples like i used to.
you keep your hair like that because i told you to. and now i wish i hadn’t. now i wish i hadn’t told you anything.
Why do there have to be so many white trucks in Richmond?
And why do I still check every passing one to make sure it isn’t yours? The blood of your memory still stains my doorstep; stepping through my threshold only forces me into a world in which I have to face the fact that you’re still alive. Not here, not physically, yet I see you everywhere. I take comfort in my dormitory prison, because I have to, because it’s the only place you haven’t touched. The only place you haven’t left you mark like you have on every street corner, every church door and every naked tree I have to pass. Why did you have to talk to me about the colors in the park, while the leaves still lingered? Why did you have to kiss me when you picked me up in your white truck? I can’t even look at that ugly bench without thinking of you on it. I let my laughter breathe into you, and I want it back. I let you into my world, and now you won’t leave. My affections for you closed my eyes against how your presence was scourging my surroundings, burning every bit of beauty I would have seen when you were gone. You ruined everything. I let you see me in my favorite dress, I let you see me without it on. Now even my very skin can’t be seen but through your eyes. Watching you set your jaw that night— doing it with such finality, such stubbornness— I wished you were dead. Because then I could think of you fondly, reverently. Now your memory just reminds me of how I wish I was dead myself.