Gone

Katrina Kaye

I’ve never been good at accepting
the wear and tear of things:

clothing

books

people.

I always thought
the longer you had something,

the more valuable it became.

It is why I am a sucker
for first editions and still
wear the jeans I’ve had

since high school.

It’s why I insist friendships

last.

I tend to hold on too long,
until there are holes in the knees and
pages are water warped and

missing, until the sun bleaches
out the newness and old toys rest
under a thick layer of dust.

Even when something breaks,

like a locket or a streak of sobriety,

when repair is no longer possible.

I kept you.

I always had a place for you:
a soft spot in the tissue

between my vertebrae.

I insisted the man I knew
was still simmering under the years
of abuse and recklessness.

Somewhere inside those tired

eyes that had seen so many

rooftops and sunrises.

We were children together.

We will always be children together.

When he described finding you:

your body

your open eyes

your arms outstretched

I could not accept you were gone.

Just like that.

You tore,

wore away,

beyond repair.

I couldn’t accept you were anything more
than that blue eyed boy who would stare
at me after I looked away.

I never thought you
would fall away like muscle from bone.

I am stubborn that way.

Even after the hang overs,

the broken dishes,

the lonely nights,

the slammed doors,

I still wanted to be your friend.

You said,

we could never just be friends

because if you were ever close enough to touch me,

you would have to kiss me and you

didn’t think you would be able to stop.

I keep that kindness.

Sometimes the only way to accept change
is when choice is taken from you.

When the house burns down

before you can collect

every memory,

granting history,

pride,

mercy,

love,

to the smoke.

“Gone” is previously published in Eclipse Lit (2022).

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