As a child I copied you without a thought.
I took you as you were. Always there, waiting,
Wanting more, I filled your absence with dreams
That you could never fulfil, you never wanted to.
You saw me, sitting there, on the last step of the stairs,
My face lighting up, forgetting about my exhaustion,
And you had nothing to say to me, no urge to hold me.
As if I hadn’t waited, as if I hadn’t been there, for you,
To show up, I wanted to shower you with my idea of love
And you withdrew yourself, and I lingered there, absorbing
The notion, the hammer in the heart, that only unreciprocated
Love is real.
I thought sleep could protect me, take everything back,
The wounds that kept bleeding, onto my pillow, smashed
Fantasies, eroded efforts, my face egged, non-existent,
Crushed beneath your footsteps, broken, the frame in shells,
Smothered by the lack of attention and care, the lack of language,
That you never repaired, never cured, never recuperated, verbalised.
Sleep would never protect me. You would never protect me.
Your skin like mine, unfolded, fragile, tamed, boisterous,
Giving in. You ignored the echoes, used them against me, for you,
We’d never be together, bodies haunting me at night, and your
Consistent neglect, the teeth and tongue twisting and turning
Against my life.