Ask the poets
about their unrequited love
and they’ll sigh after it
like it’s the newest accessory
for their newly shaped souls.
Falling in love is easy.
Making it unrequited is easier.
All part of the job, they say.
Put on your yearning shoes, your aching gloves,
your painfully rejected suit.
Dazzle the collective of admirers.
Open your chest and make a tour
of your soul, fashionably tortured.
Isn’t it strange?
Nobody says a thing about
how ugly it is.
The waxy yellow line inside the collar
of the stolen shirt I’ve been wearing
for too long; the stifling smell
of laundry, waiting in a hopeless heap.
There are dishes rotting loudly in the sink.
Dust gathers on my hairbrush.
My soles grow thick and white, cracking
when I walk, barefoot, across the dirty floor.
I understand. Nobody wants
to see this. Nobody wants
to read about how I stumble
off to work, clothes a failed puzzle,
paint smeared across my face
in a sad corpse of a mask.
Nobody wants to know
that I’m an old vinyl record
stuck replaying your mouth
or that getting lost in thoughts of
your face is more natural than breathing.
Nobody will read about any of this.
Not even about that one evening
when you were a scream, unending
under my skin, and I couldn’t afford
alcohol, so I went out and found
a man to fuck me hard and not ask
There is no tortured soul here.
Only a body, withering. The soul
is off somewhere, getting blind
drunk. She hasn’t come
to see me for weeks.
She left barefoot, eyes swollen
and hidden behind broken sunglasses.
“Shall I take care of your body while you’re gone?”
I yelled after her, but she didn’t even look back.
I’m alone now.
But hey, where’s the romance in this?
I should write a poem about my soul.
I’ll do it. As soon as she comes back.