Cigarette smoke. That nicotine-stained thumb. Your second-hand mouth. The purple staining the skin under your eyes. How I swore the violet would stain my fingers if I reached out to touch. The way you painted me in the same shade with your hands, your belt, and other things. How I swore if I were to excavate my heart from my ribcage, it would be colored the same from all the years it sat bruising like fruit in the palm of your hand.

All those years. So much history. I never had a future with you.

All those nights you didn’t stay. All those nights you didn’t ask me to. Feeling loved at the cost of feeling used. Arranging and rearranging myself just for you. Being lied to. Lying with you. Lying for you. Keeping secrets from the people I loved the most. Being your dirtiest one. Living in the shadows for you. My light seeping out all because without words you told me I was a thing that could only be loved in the dark.

Turning into something I loathed – a woman who would hurt another, the same way I had been hurt.

Being your gratuitous whore.

All the poetry that should have never been. Our love was cheap. Our love wasn’t love. It wasn’t your heart, but your body, that knew how to love me. You didn’t care for any part of me that could not be felt skin to skin.

Being second best. Never being good enough. My worth measured only in sex.

All of the things I never heard you say. All the promises you made we both knew you would always break. Being wine-drunk on your living room floor in that apartment on Bellefontaine, hearing you call me your fate, listening to you say the words “one day.” The wine we drank was cheap, so was your talk, have I mentioned our love was cheaper?

Dreaming of alternate universes. Losing myself waiting for you. You’d call me your goddess, you’d get on your knees, you’d beg me for a taste, but you only knew worship behind closed doors. What kind of a devout were you?

How you made me forget that I was the one out of your reach.

You made me forget a lot of things. But mostly you just made me sad.

How I would hate myself for still wanting to feel your eyes on me. Your hands around my throat. The welts on my ass. Your palm striking my jaw. The way I came the first time you slapped me across the face. I mistook your vehement touch as passion; behind it there was only emptiness. How you just wanted to own me without any of the responsibility.

How all I ever wanted was to be someone who mattered.

Me in a river. You a stone in my pocket.

I don’t carry you anymore.


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