Cycle

Story time: A few days after making this edit of this poem, the person who it is about contacted me to tell me he was sorry for everything he did to me. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and right now the universe is handing me some strange magic, and I wanted to share it with you guys. Here it goes. 

the only boy i ever loved
moved out of state last week.
i saw him before he left,
sitting on a park bench in my hometown,
and i pulled my girlfriend
into the record store to avoid him.
i finally answered “yes”
the third time she asked me
“are you okay?”

i’ve written this poem about him
before. sometimes he is “my
abuser,” sometimes “the man
who taught me my body was just
another bottle-shaped mistake to
drown in,” but today he is just
“the boy.” today, he posted

a photo of his new bedroom
on instagram. he is decorating.
yesterday he posted a facebook
status—his dad made unwelcome
mat of his neck, choked him up
against a wall; a version of home
that smells like bottles and
breaks like fists—

i’ve heard from his other exes
that he never hit them. only me.
i am not the only person he ever loved,
but i was the only one
who refused to be a placeholder
for someone else when he just needed
a place to put his hands—

abuse is not doormat you can
beat cycle out of; certainly not with
two kids play-acting adult;
a version of “home” with my
skirt hiked up and my knees
another shade of dirt—

so today, let the boy decorate
his new bedroom in peace, let me
redecorate my memory of him;
tear down the posters of this old
love, lick the wounds that time
will crust over like the hand-shaped
spot on my heart that has learned
itself old scab. let him not be
hold to my place, not mouth to
my bottle, let him just be the boy.

let me pull my girlfriend into the
record store; answer “yes”
the first time she asks me
if i’m okay.

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