things we leave behind

by emery rose

in those breathless moments my heart thumps in my stomach a wave of chills crawl slowly across my skin and there is not enough air in all the world to satisfy my thirsty lungs i desperately want to move but i cannot budge i am back in that quiet house with his hands around my neck pulling me forward pushing me back shaking me like a magic eight ball over and over until i give him the answer he wants to hear

like an unwilling chameleon i am continuously defined and redefined by the uncertain whims of every possible predisposition until exhaustion leads me into hiding and my colors turn black

my tired eyes are swollen and bloodshot from their relentless analysis of every inch of my skin tracking imperfections collecting evidence of past lives desperate to build a case against me

you held me like sand cupped in your palms until a careless breath scattered me

into the wind

left me to pick up the pieces without ever being taught the things we keep and the things we leave behind

through laughter we locked eyes in a lingering moment until your lips unwound me

you would pray every night for a man to take you away from that country house

the one that you your parents and your child called home

and even though i was a child i remember wondering those nights in bed next to you why we needed a man to take us where we needed to be

accept my surrender i want you to use every inch of me until i am so raw that i can feel your eyes on my skin

a familiar feeling returns to rest its head upon to wrap its wings around to sink it's teeth into her heart

it once brought a child to her bedroom floor at that time of morning when the sun sleeps while she begged a cell phone to make the pain stop

it once brought a child to the cold concrete of a driveway on a winter night desperate just to breathe and be rescued by one of the mothers she never had

it once brought a child to bury her face into a bouquet of roses returned to their sender so she screamed into them until she could only whisper

it once brought a child to the top of a flight of stairs as her crimson arm stained the immaculate white carpet she would later be forced to clean as penance

and even though she is no longer a child she worries she hopes she has enough practice to survive it this time

fear and silence like parasitic vines can kill even the largest trees if allowed to grow

but our spoken truths like hatchets can sever what chokes us and steals our sunlight

sometimes i just need your arms something to hold onto while i hang from a cliff by the threads in your sleeve

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