Self-Exam

All I wanted was the shadow

of your fingers

and cool eyes to kind of soften as

I gather my wounds in this tulip

and with you I would say

here

here

enter and close me up

 

I waited in your room

like this, folding and unfolding

my fingers over my palms as if it were

the tulip opening and closing,

bearing witness to my wounds

you know so much about, and then each time I

closed them, I saw a sort of smooth scar spreading

over old stitches, and the new ones

blended so well in these new petals.

 

The clock ticking as it

pushed into the impossible hours.

You are not coming, love.

And I swear I saw out the window an old comet

disappearing behind the horizon of the place

I fear life goes, or intimacy, or the

promise of budding in Spring in this town

that never grows–just mud and dead-ends

and bent telephone poles.

 

The next morning I had too much coffee

because my chest hurt.  The bright

rooms felt vacant, even disturbed somehow,

as if they had spent the night with me and woke up

hung over and hazy.

 

I looked down into my hands and cupped

them and closed them and imagined little

black tulips hiding their centers,

not from me, but from the world.

From love. Rejection does this.

 

And I keep waking up at odd hours

in a box made out of black flowers that press

panic down into me

–an old panic, the kind that happens

when people leave.

 

And there’s his voice

repeating in my head

speaking in another language
and then nothing,

silence and carefully chosen

acoustic guitar melodies plucking

sadness from me like grapes,

through my rooms, without words.

 

I envisioned a love story that

wasn’t really there;

he was a reflection

of the things in me

I was only learning

about myself.

 

The chest pain I am allowing;

I’ve switched to black tea

and cigarettes; to looking

into myself in the quiet noon

saying

here

here I am

enter and close me.

 

You can’t cut a heart out of someone

if you’re not holding it.

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