Archive: When Apologies Fall Apart

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

we are talking about the truth here. i’ve studied your arms/hands
too intently. praised the smooth, manicured nails. traced the
scratch and scars. words etched around your wrist. your body
a template. a document of your history. i pretended not to
notice the images that fold and lay flat across your biceps. “oh really?”
I said. neglecting to mention the night I traced the pattern with
my thumb. learned every mole. every worry. every undecided action. took note of
your tremble then. the way you fumbled
for phone and glass and conversation. you appeared to be all calm and focus but the
fingers gave you away. the eyes never met mine but they frozen wide a
split second before the smile came.hugged you a bit too tightly the first time. I
hoped it felt like a welcoming back. before you manufactured calm out of reason
and magic. let me sneak in before you closed again. once while you slept and again
while you inhaled music instead of oxygen, i nearly placed my palm against your
heart. could hear it racing and pushing you sternum and solitude. i wanted to hum
in unison. show you how my body seem to gulp and gasp sometimes. teach you
how i learned to slow this reckless thinking. i remember
the way you slept too heavy to be peaceful. too full of movement to honor
rest. the long drive home, the night and i discussed how loneliness tugged at
your corners. the slick way it wanted to own you. like the women who feigned concerned.
night and i laughed about how different we’d be, how the ribbon tied to your wrist held
everything that you could possibly love. if i had known that you needed more than you
wanted, i would have studied you like sunset. like Qu’ran on holiest of days. like a tuesday
when God speaks. instead i wanted crawl into this barrel husk, this
exposed chest and inhale. pull bits of your flesh into my mouth. see how you
could survive with so much skin.your dna chipped into this stone wall. this barricade. instead, i inadvertently
became part of the things that crushed you. today, I found a needle to scribble a
tanka of apology into the empty space between your wingspan:
you bleed too much truth/and fire. need tourniquet/not me. I’m sorry/i didn’t hear
you the first/ time you asked for someone to stay.