you are afraid of phonecalls. you
are afraid of your own voice, and
opening your ribcage to let
your heart come live on your sleeve.
you are afraid of living without caffeine
or alcohol, whatever the day calls for;
you are afraid of being real
without laughing afterwards, becoming
everything you worked so hard to get
away from, acknowledging all
that you still are. know this:
I am afraid of loud noises.
I am afraid of honesty and drowning,
people I don’t know and words
I won’t say. I am afraid
of growing old and living alone and
you not accepting me. I am afraid
of myself. In that, we are the same.
I have the compulsion to grab you
and cup you to me like you are some
half-alive bird, like that sound
as the lazy sun paints you a portrait is
your hummingbird heart and not my own
shallow breaths. in the beginning,
you were my peace of mind. you traced
the contours of my being with a scalpel
and held me up, a shadow puppet,
as the darkest, blackest figures I gave off
became my identity. when you left,
the cuts remained. when you came back
with an I miss you card and a girlfriend,
the cuts remained. when you cried on the phone
as I told you every gory detail, I remembered
the day I let myself fall apart
in front of you and you forgot.
now, I haven’t seen you in half a week
and days are measured in thoughts I must
avoid. now, the cuts remain, but I still hear
the ghost of your hummingbird heart
in the shadows they left.