Safe as Houses

Katrina Kaye

You are not my last resort;
I just didn’t have anywhere else to go.

You allow me access to
the far side of your leather chair
and reluctantly gather your grandmother’s
folded quilt and spare pillow from hall closet,
stale and stiff from lack of use.

My intention is not to reclaim
the former comfort of the living room
we once shared, nor reminisce
the passing of a romance which outlasted
its welcome.

It has been a long time
since you have found
my endearments in the form
of wet towels on the floor
or shoes left in the hallways.

But you don’t have to love me anymore
to let me sleep on your couch.

I can cook you breakfast
without imagining your fingers
sulking the lip of my jeans
and I can pretend there
was never a time my body
folded like paper under your fingers
as I sit across the table from you.

We can deny the last two years
of pelting rocks against plaster walls
until they were unable to hold up the home
we painstakingly pieced together.

We can pretend we don’t
remember the full moon we crushed
into a single stone that shone greater
than the sun when held in our cupped hands.

Despite the comfort of the way you
arch your eyebrow and the familiarity
of my name on your tongue,
I know how it will end.

I’ve seen this episode more than once.

It is only for a couple of days
till my feet stand sober,
until I can find a shelter for tired eyes,
a place to boil my water.

Soon we will resume our steps
in opposite directions,

and brick our skeletons
into the wall where their
rattle will eventually
shudder to a bare tremor.

“Safe as Houses” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012.