Flame

Music: Oceans – Jacob Lee

Flame

And yet it lingered
Impervious
Evading my eviction notice
Refusing to vacate my mind
I willed it away with what little I had left
Tried to immerse it in abundant sorrow
Suffocate it with breathless nights
Carve it with a fractured heart
Squeeze it unresponsive with strained embraces
Trample it with reticent footsteps dancing among eggshells
Freeze it with ice much too cold for a warm heart to give
Mummify it with loathing I held for myself
Because maybe it could be meant for you
When it would not go
I thought
Maybe if I could burn the thoughts that remained
The pictures you carved into my vision
The words you stitched on my tongue
The stench of your cologne trapped in my clothes
The taste of your skin on my mouth
You would finally leave me
So I held a flame to your memory
It touched first your umber eyes
I watched the blaze in their reflection
Until the mirror turned to ash
And spilled to the floor
I guided a spark to your mouth
Drenched your lips in gasoline
Watched them shrivel to black
Curl into endless silence
The snake behind them too cauterized to breathe anymore
The flare caught your fingertips
Each one turning to charcoal
Crumbling in fragments to the ground
The crimson caressed your skin
Stretched to every inch I could not touch
I watched in silence, knowing the crackling of the inferno was taking pieces of me with you
A sacrifice I was willing to make if it meant you would go
The wind carelessly carried you away, billows of black smoke writhing into halos above your head
Now I am not the one spiraling
I looked at my feet, hidden beneath what was left of you
Now I am not the one below
I do not expect you to be gone forever
But should you return
Remember
I am the one holding the match

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Unfamiliar Stillness

I’m terrified
But I sit with you
You do not force me to
You allow me to choose my own company
And I choose you
Silence cloaks us, but it is not heavy, not hollow
It does not beg to be filled
Your breaths are a quivering quiet, but slow and steady
A rhythm in which I feel at home
Your light eyes do not hold me, though I am so aware the flakes of crystal in them could paralyze me
I do not feel them
When I look at you, only then can I sense their grip
So many times I have longed to get away
This time I want to be kept
I want to be kept safe
I want to be kept warm
I want to be kept hidden
And I want you to keep me
You can keep me
Please keep me
Even from here I can feel your heartbeat
It is fast like mine
Are you afraid, too?
I find comfort in its pace, for I know I am not alone
I can see a heaviness in your thoughts written on your face
I notice your hand tremble as you begin to lift it
I flinch
You freeze
In this moment of stillness I realize the depth of your caring
I move my own, placing it between us
An invitation
Your eyes land upon my hand
You fingers follow, resting there, slow and gentle
There is no pressure, only compassion and kindness
So soft
Now your fingers are laced with mine
I’m terrified
But I stay with you
So many times I have longed to get away
Maybe one day I can tell you
Your touch and losing the pain
Feel the same
I see you smile, so genuine and selfless
Maybe for once my vulnerability is appreciated
And so unfamiliar, I feel the same cross my own lips
I want you to keep me
You can keep me
Please keep me

Can You Hold Me

I hold my breath
I’m waiting for your voice
I’m waiting for the words
I’m waiting for the question
Please
Please
Please don’t ask me
Your pale cheeks are stained with salt
The pillow beside us is sodden
I watch the raindrops fall from your dark eyes
Each one a lie as it crosses your lips
Your sobs become unbearable
But I can’t leave
I can’t go
I have to sit with fear as my company
Just don’t
Please
Please don’t ask me
Not tonight
You told me you loved me
I learn love means weapons
You told me you needed me
I learn being needed means having an empty clip
You told me you were sorry
I learn apologies can’t be my ammunition
You told me we had good times, too
I learn good times are your target practice
I hear a steady breath
You breathe but I can’t
I watch your chest rise
I realize only words
Can turn a moment into a lifetime
Please
Please
Please, no
Not this time
Please
“Can you hold me?”
You know my answer before I part my lips
You’ve twisted it into my mouth, onto my tongue
No
No
I don’t want to
Because you hurt me
You hurt me
You hurt…
“Of course.”