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You are the scab I pick over and over,
The whip I use to beat myself.
Your spectre hangs on the back of the bathroom door.
I stare at it day after day as I sit on the toilet and tell it,
“Things would have been different if I had known.
I still love you. I’m sorry.”
I want to write graffiti in your memory,
Buy an ad in the classifieds to tell you.
Anything to absolve myself of the inky guilt
Of still giving a shit.
Standing at the sink,
After doing the rest of the dishes,
I twisted open the top of the thermos you bring to work every day.
Rinsing it out,
I was overcome with such tenderness for you,
That I wept.
There is a bird inside my chest.
A hawk in a parakeet cage.
He is trapped in there together with all the bird-related clichés and idioms ever invented.
He is broken into unnatural angles.
Railing against my rib cage.
Nothing will soothe him except his being obvious to everyone.
Look at these ratty feathers, these beady eyes.
Look at these ravaged wings and their reflex for flight
that has become only a painful scraping.