You Associated A City With Everything You Wanted To Forget: A Poem

There had been one night amongst many

That you would never talk about.

Buried it within yourself.

One night, him, associated with a travel to a city that would

Leave your heart in continuous ever-rotting scars, a city,

That would break your spirit, because he was there with you,

Because you associated the city with everything that happened

Between the two of you, concentrated, that night, drunk, in Berlin.


Hope would never be within reach.


You took care of yourself. That’s what it always

Looked like from the outside. I loved that about

You. You tried so hard for a while to not let things

Get to you on the outside as well. To wash your hair,

To iron your clothes, to hold your purse the way you

Always did, (the many old-fashioned purses with coins everywhere,

Here and there, after your death, you made me laugh for

An instant, of love, I miss you.)


What happened in that night? You never wanted to go

Back. But you overcame your fears and rejection, you did

Go back, after almost thirty years. That’s the amount

Of time that it took to give the city that arose from self-inflicted

Ruins a second chance, and you came without him, he had

Been long deceased by then, but you carried the burden of him

Still, his shadows, him as a memory that weighed more than your life

It seemed, his voice still loud and clear, his hands, perhaps, his

Heaving body, onto yours, drowning into the night.


Alcohol-infused, stumbling through the streets,

And you thought this would never end, the sheets, stained, no matter

Where you went, you thought you had been fooled

A long time ago, as a young girl, you criticised your

Younger self for being so impressionable, for absorbing

All of his mother’s bullying, for internalising voices

That were set against you, your pain would always

Lead you into the evaporating arms of your father.


Did you conjure him up again, then and there, on the

Rainy late night sidewalks of Berlin, tired and resigned,

Sharing this man’s addiction in appearance, belonging

To him, why on earth would you belong to someone like

That, you thought, look at him, barely on his feet, you didn’t

Know where you would spend the night, what he thought

Of you and himself, the close quarters, too close, no space,

You breathed in his stench, what happened that night,

What happened in Berlin?

woman in floral dress
Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on

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