I’ve never been good at accepting
the wear and tear of things:
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
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:
open, yet empty,
the way the water paled and wrinkled your skin,
your outstretched arms
as though reaching for salvation.
I could not accept you were gone.
Just like that.
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 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.
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
to the smoke.
“Gone” is previously published in Eclipse Lit (2022).
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