Not a Love Poem #8
It turns out I never really liked the way
your hair parted at a right angle, the glossy
sheen of your night light, or earmarked books
pressed between white snow globes
on your dresser; they faced east where you
frantically paced and recited all twelve cranial nerves,
beginning with the hypoglossal until I was ready
to throw you and your endless supply of 3 X 5s out.
I was going to do it tomorrow.
But tomorrow was our anniversary; six years
of dirty dishes, iron-on t-shirts, Virgin Mary
postcards, thrift store statues, and that insufferable
velvet Elvis painting in the guest room. I should have
done it then before tomorrow demanded festivity,
and we exchanged cards with emotions we didn’t feel.
Instead, I waited for you to betray me.
It wasn’t long before I caught you in late night whispers
about arterial bleeds and mad cow disease,
contributing to a spike in vegan living.
It wasn’t long until I heard you say, “Tomorrow,
after champagne toast, after friends leave, after clean up,
I will tell her.” And that night, you were propaganda,
fraudulent and intoxicated, an errant dream, a celebration
of future, miles gone, and me, curled against door,
strained to hear each word like an insistent,
uncompromising prayer; the cooed goodbye,
the packed boxes, rehearsed speech. I filmed it all:
the story of lovers leaving doorways exposed.