I want to set my skin on fire
but I’m supposed to be at your apartment in an hour when i came
across the dress
a pretty floral pattern
hidden away in the back of my small closet
along with my skeletons-
they look like him.
i decide i will wear,
or not wear many things for you
but not this embarrassment.
i set it on fire
out by the baseball field parking lot next to my car
i can barely use the cheap BIC lighter i find under my seat,
it is not mine and i don’t care.
i watch each layer catch the flame, and moths as cliché as it is come to it
as does campus security.
i tell them this is my therapy,
that this is my definition of forgiveness.
i’m lying, i don’t say any of that
i tell them this is the dress i wore when he took my voice
and i want it to be smothered out like he did me.
they tell me to be sure to make sure the fire is gone when the dress is,
i tell them i will.
the nice older officer tells me he is sorry
i just nod and light it again.
Ash St- Manchester
I leave your apartment without taking my things
and by things i mean my thigh
the one that is still attached across your waist.
by things i mean my left arm that is across your body, hands woven.
by things i mean me.
i have left
or i have given pieces of myself to your memory,
curled inside the crook of the right side of your body tangled in your comforter.
i have left myself with you,
i don’t think you have noticed
as i am just another ghost of the lovers whose time
has ended along with the changing of the seasons,
you have many of us.
the new girl you are sleeping with probably thinks she can change
her role to a title to something substantial,
she won’t, and you know this.
and even with two and a half hours between us,
i know this too.
because i was always in second place
and you did not love me,
just as you will not love her
i once told you that
i think you miss my being in your bed
or maybe you just miss me.
you told me you that your memory foam bed doesn’t forget so easily.
it is the smallest way you could tell me that i am right,
that the shape of my body,
on my side of your bed is still there.
i wonder if she sleeps on my side, or if you do now
if you think about how i’d reach for you in the middle of the night,
always stirring with you beside me..
i don’t ask these questions
i know that i am someone to miss
but with you i am always unsure.
i am brave enough to tell you i miss you
and you are not brave enough to tell me you don’t,
or that you do.
and i don’t tell you i love you,
but i tell you i want to see you and to me that is close enough.
it means that you are still someone i belong to.
even though i don’t want to
even though i want to tell you all the words that float inside my throat,
but i shouldn’t
so i don’t
i pack up every syllable and hide them under my tongue,
between my teeth, behind my molars,
they stay there even though my gums are on fire
even though i am on fire because you,
you make everything filled with flame,
every memory soaked in smoke and ash,
and i am just another one of your ruins.