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Aftershock

by Lauren Singer


You are mad at me.
You are always mad at me.

Old friend,
deliver me from the blue-smoke
chaos of the city and let us curl into
bent spoons on the day-bed. I do not want to
think about the desperation in our spent youths
or the quiet candor in all of our oversaid enunciations that
we are "better now".

We should have known.
As good as it gets does not a good thing make,
we must be more deliberate about
our misuse of love and part ways.
We don't have to keep stringing along
this fuselage of justice on a leash
to prove that we could make it work.
We are a downed craft. Just let it be.

If I were braver I would uncoil the snake of your
imprints from my skin and drain the wreckage. I would
call union plumbers and beg of them to fix me,
cradle chemicals in the basin of my throat and
drown all reminscent symptoms of our sanguine trust.
Oh, sea, swallow all this sad in me and turn me into
stinging stars, surly tangled ocean weeds or giant tubeworm beds of
gaseous ventilated energy, a crass anemone.
A deep sea fish who lures his pray with laser beams,
I want to be a bioluminescent monster,
For you to see the aftershock in me and not the light.
That this is dangerous.

I did not buy you a birthday gift.
Is it crueler to pretend I did not remember,
did not think to go that extra step,
that agonizing over options--handmade, bought,
or found--the message in every token
of abandoned, strung-out bleakness, this ungodly
lie of moving on, I caved and gave you nothing.
How you haunt me. It is cruel to stretch it out
with physical manifestations of my blue devils.

On a summer night, some years ago,
the rain in my attic bedroom was so loud
we didn't need to turn the music on. You went upstairs before me
and I remember thinking I should sleep downstairs,
but the pull to you was so strong, I was krill in your tide pool,
and you, falling asleep, facing the wall while I took off your clothes
and touched every available part of you,
you said,

"This...
is nice."

You can't wrap that in a bow
and send it in the mail, five years later.
So you smooth it over with someone else and
just say you forgot, that you
hope that everything is going well.

Forgive me.
I think too much.

07/20/2014

Posted on 07/20/2014
Copyright © 2020 Lauren Singer

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Felicia Aguilar on 07/27/14 at 12:46 PM

YES, just yes. This one gave me goose bumps because I guess you can say I am experiencing something like this, as has every one at some point.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 07/28/14 at 12:55 AM

Really love that fourth stanza.

Posted by George Hoerner on 12/07/17 at 10:34 PM

I hope you aren't 'thinking too much' because I do the exact same thing. But I'm much older so I have much 'excuse me' crap to think through, or over, around, maybe under. I don't even know any more. Take care sweet lady. g

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