I think I love you
in a different language now—
through gritted teeth at the mindless mention
of your name in conversation, a clenched fist
perspiring against the loose seams of my pocket,
a sealed and stamped envelope I almost dropped
into the post office mailbox this morning yet
ultimately decided to save for another day
because why, what’s the point anymore
if you never check your mail or even check on me,
or if you already know my letter will begin with sorry
or remember when we used to or I just wish I’d been better,
the contents of my heart translated into cursive bullshit.
So I slipped the letter back into the crease of my coat
and let it burn a hole there, like I’d been shot in the side.
Then I wandered around town, stopping at our landmarks,
pretending it didn’t throb and that I wasn’t spilling out.
It’s funny, though, the things I do to keep you alive.
Like how I still sprinkle cinnamon into black coffee
the way you did for me when I’d rage at you, or how I still
take the scenic route when I drive home, even if no one sits
in my passenger seat pointing at the cows grazing on hills
while cranking 80s rock like we’re the main characters
in a trashy romantic comedy that flopped in the theaters,
or how I still write you into my poems even when I run
out of words capable of saying what I’ve been needing to.
I still love you in past tense, in isolation, in pretending
that I don’t. But it’s alright, and I’m gonna be fine,
because at least I can still hold you close
in the stories that I tell.