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by Lauren Singer

when you take off your hat
and let me touch your thinning hair,
the rest of you,

i close my eyes and for a moment
i am just a body,
the sentient being smothered by a want
that is quenched with only pushing and filling up.

i beg myself,
do not become attached.
keep your distance.

i do not sleep well.
neither of us do. i can hear
the sounds of my nervous breath,
the quaking treble of my errant heart
and each time you turn to me
you are so close that i can taste your skin
and it terrifies me.
how i know now
what's been missing.

when you go downstairs first and leave me to collect my clothes
i leave my earrings on your bedside table
so that i will have to come back here,
calculated in my need to see you again,
as more than your confidant, as more than
a hug outside a bar.

i will carry around that sweet fuck for a week
before i let it drain and when we
meet again, as two people who have crossed a
precious line, you will fault me for a motive,
for a trickery i will defend with impetuous tears
burying my head into your shoulder, you digging fingers in my scalp
"i'm sorry sorry sorry" as i jerk away from you,
grasping for me as i run down your stairs,
yelling "aloof!" from your doorstep to spite
the candor in my affections.
how i wanted you.
how i wanted you all along.

this is where the crack spreads across the brick.
this is when the rift penetrates the bond.
this is how we stop making eye contact.

4:30 in the morning finds me
sobbing in the street and climbing into beds
of former lovers, whiskey-breathed and begging "hold me, please" because
you won't.

you won't.


Posted on 01/28/2013
Copyright © 2023 Lauren Singer

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 01/28/13 at 02:50 PM

Been there done that. It hurts doesn't it?

Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 01/29/13 at 02:33 AM

Every line of this cuts in the best way possible.

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 02/14/13 at 09:22 PM

Even when you write with a rapier, Lauren, your honest emotions shine a brilliant lamp on a tender, sensitive soul.

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