My friend Erin once told me
when a dog rolls over
it’s to show they trust you.
It’s to say,
Hey, here’s everything I’ve got.
Now, pet me.
That’s why the heart was put in a cage,
to keep it protected when
you give your trust a little too much.
I’d never lay on my back,
I always slept on my stomach,
my body like a clenched fist.
The tension coursing so violently
you could feel it
through every fiber in the sheets.
That was when the end began.
When I would look
at the heart on his rolled-up sleeve
or beating through his back pocket
and wonder why I couldn’t give like that.
Why couldn’t I just fall
like Newton’s apple
in the palm of his hand?
I fought so hard
so I wouldn’t get addicted to his generosity;
to not pickpocket what he’d be willing
to hand over.
I was just looking for an answer,
you have to believe me.
trying to find a cure in anything.
My doctor said I should do more digging.
The stars told me the struggle would pay off.
The internet kept saying it gets better.
My brain was looking for enough symptoms
to justify all the bottles I wanted to empty.
Instead I slept–
Every wake up felt post-war,
my body readjusting to the dark.
My guts asking for purpose again
(But when he left that day
I think everything inside me gave up too).
and it wasn’t news to anyone.
We lost long ago.
For so long,
we were just playing Shakespeare
wondering who’d swallow the poison first.
He was the only one to have enough heart
to let go first.
I just tip-toed around the exit
until our scene turned into my monologue.
and the only thing he took
were the pictures he’d had of better days.
The days we were so young
willing to take a risk
even if it meant getting hurt.
and my smile melted like taffy.
It told my heart,
Hey, it’s okay to forfeit now.
It told my lungs,
Here, let me take that.
and my head said,
Let’s go scream into the rain,
but my feet were speechless.
My bones said,
Hey, tomorrow might be better.