I never said the things that mattered most
I would look at you, and fold in two.
You gave me more than butterflies.
I wanted to say –
I love how your eyes crinkle when you smile
and the snug fit of your shirt on your shoulders.
or how I admire your joy in simple things,
and how before I would leave,
you would always give me one last cuddle.
But I didn’t. I turned away.
I wasn’t used to giving such affection
when I have received so little.
I was afraid of the humiliation
of being ignored and being unreciprocated.
I am ashamed.
Which is why it made all the negative things I said
sound so much harsher,
made me seem so much cooler, and indifferent.
So now I say for the lack of anything other –
I’m sorry. I hope you’re ok.
If I am writing poetry again
please know this;
this is a disquiet pain
keeping me awake at night.
I need you to hear it
something needs to heal it.
I don’t really know how to-
I don’t understand
why certain things I say
some people behave
the way they do.
I try to find
the best in everyone
and have often been proven wrong.
This is not an excuse
I have a soft heart
and all my actions and words
come from no evil.
I often feel like I haven’t been myself for years-
But isn’t this how all humans feel?
A brush against my skin. The mattress moves.
‘Babe wake up,’ something soft and wet against my shoulder. My mind slowly returns, and I roll over to face him. The soft light coming from the curtains silhouettes him.
‘I was having such a horrible dream,’ I say.
‘I… I dreamt I was in a factory. But there was nobody there, just these cages… like crates with bars…’ I see it now; the white stark walls, the dirty cracked windows. The cages. Rows of them going back to the furthest wall ‘There was someone shouting but I couldn’t see anyone. And there was this smell… like something stale and old… it was disgusting.’
‘It was just a dream,’ he moves my hair away from my face.
‘But it felt so real. It was lucid.’
‘I’m sure it means nothing. Go back asleep.’
I curl closer, and he rests his arm on me for comfort. His breathing is timed and soothing. I kiss his arm and allow myself to drift off once more.
Light has broken through a crack in the curtains. I am disorientated; I can’t determine what is bothering me. I don’t remember my dream. I stretch and reach out, but my fingers meet nothing. I look over. The other half of the bed is made and undisturbed. I pick up the pillow. I can only smell laundry detergent and a vague hint of my perfume.
I have seen the devil
in human eyes
and once you have seen that
nothing more can take you by surprise.
This will be the first time my heart breaks:
when I open social media
and see that you have chosen her over me.
I didn’t even know she existed.
Strange that only a week ago we were in bed
and you whispered sweet nothings
and made me believe that we were meant to be.
You were the first I let in and you convinced me
for years to come that
I’d never be worthy.
Sometimes the monsters we hunt
are found within ourselves
and instead of knocking that beast down
we let the bastard out.
Sundays were made for this kind of love.
Laughing around a makeshift barbeque,
or sitting huddled on a sofa in our dressing gowns
saying so little, and yet
each moment meaning
My back aches. I cannot blink. One second will give them the advantage. Moisture slips between my hand and the baseball bat. I grip it tighter.
‘I told my friend I’d be back inside in two minutes,’ I say to the shadow hovering by the shed ‘If I’m not back by then, he’ll have called the police. Just go. Please. I don’t want any trouble.’
They deliberate. I grip the bat with both hands and step forward. I don’t look like much, but they turn and run for the open gate.
I wait a moment to be certain, but they’re gone. I check the lock on the gate, before dragging my heavy wheely bin behind it to block it. The locks completely broken. I’ll have to fix that tomorrow. I look at the old tin shed, unfazed by the night’s events. My secret is still safe.
Back inside, I lock the door and admire the silence of being alone once more. The motion light for the garden turns off. I prop the bat by the door, and suddenly smell the burnt baked beans I’d left on the stove.
‘Bollocks,’ I say softly, now think of murder.
Why is it when we are
desperate to sleep
our brains will conjure up anything
to keep us awake?
Tuned in to 2AM blues