living room floor

I kept my winter coat wrapped 
around me
like it would
be ripped
from my body.

Walking into your house,
I could taste the lingering
cigarette smoke.

When silence felt suffocating,
we tried humor.

Finally you asked for
what we both knew
I would not,
perhaps could not,
give.

My feeling of resolve
demanded our attention.
I became aware that this time,
this meeting,
could not be kept afloat
from half of myself
given to you.

I could not offer pieces
and call that love.

In that moment on the
floor of the room
where we both built
and collapsed
it was decided there would
be no last time.

I took responsibility for my
own feelings.
I took my healing seriously.

As if planned,
memories of the last
2 years played before us
in the realization
that I would no longer fit,
these were patterns
I could not sustain.

I remembered the day
you bought this house
and we stained the floor
installed a new rug
that we now baptize
with the remnants of grief.

We opened the door,
gutted the house and
attempted to restore
what we could.

As I went to leave,
I did not look back
in your direction.
I left the key on the kitchen table.

I left us on the living room floor.

T-shirt

I’m thinking of
how it felt
waking up to the sunrise
in a room that wasn’t my own.
 
I watched it rise higher
as I thought of the night before
how magic was made,
co-created with quick wit,
intimacy,
hearing the stories of
the rocks and art in your room.
 
I tried to rest,
and when sleep wouldn’t take me,
I reached across you
for the cup of water on your nightstand.
You startled awake.
 
I rose from the bed to leave.
We talked lightly as I
put my clothes on.
 
I don’t remember the words you used
or the tone in your voice
when you instructed me to
leave the shirt
I had borrowed to sleep in.
 
And I think in that moment I knew
I wouldn’t be back in this room
or in that bed
or under the two blankets
sleeping next to you without
a pillow because you only had one.
 
I took the T-shirt off and
didn’t listen to your explanation
of what it meant to you
and don’t remember if
I even asked
or if I said
something funny to blunt
how it felt being told
to leave this piece of you.
 
It was in that short sentence
I realized
you didn’t want any loose ends.
I would be a temporary connection,
an afterthought.
 
Now looking back
at a moment meant to mean nothing
but charged with more than
I could’ve grasped in the
fog of alcohol,
I wonder what it is
that T-shirt means to you.
 
Maybe you just like it.
It’s vintage and cool
and worn and
it looks like its traveled and
I loved the way it felt when I put it on.
 
When I took it off it felt cold and
used and I
wanted to tell you that I
didn’t want to take it from you
in the first place.
 
And in hindsight I know
that the t-shirt didn’t fit,
it wasn’t mine to wear.
Maybe the contrast of it on me
was too telling.
Maybe it was clear just how much
it did not belong to me.
 
It was that simple request
to leave what was yours
exactly where you wanted it
that led me to hear
what you have said from the start.
 
In the end,
I’m thinking
of how it felt
waking up to the sunrise
in a t-shirt that wasn’t my own.
 
I liked
wearing something
important to you and
although it was temporary
I liked how it felt.

I liked who 
I imagined
you saw in that t-shirt.