I didn’t know it then. We were all
twisted limbs and exploring fingers dancing over torsos
in fluttering morning light;
knees brushing under a blanket on the couch,
bad movies and cheap beers,
dark stretching its wings earlier each day.
hot breath on cool skin and
flushed cheeks, tousled bangs,
steaming coffee in chipped china cups,
stoned boys and girls in a hundred-year-old attic,
a sleepy dog curled up among dust bunnies in the corner.
I didn’t know
yet how we would bend and break,
how we would
shout at one another,
throw things on the ground,
pull the car over,
slam the front door,
cry under the covers,
forget to listen,
forget what lies beneath.
I didn’t know.
it’s hard to remember those ugly nights
and the slow-motion days that followed.
I only remember you
sleeping in the waiting room,
eating pizza in bed when I was sure my dad
when my hands smelled like death
when the doctor asked about life support
when I didn’t breath for a month.
Those were the loneliest days of my life;
I still wake from ICU nightmares,
know every thread at the wrists of my black and white sweater,
can taste the salty tears running down my face for hours
while nurses peeked in and tried to comfort me.
These horrors will haunt me forever.
I thought those angry nights were the bleakest,
thought you could never understand me
thought you couldn’t love me
thought you missed the point
(youdid — andyet).
You were always there when I needed you most.
I didn’t know.