Posts Tagged ‘past’

The Nights I Remember

We lit up sparklers in your cul-de-sac,

our faces only seen in


couldn’t look away

from our supernovas.

They hissed,

begging us to keep them there,

aware and eternal.

We united them, making it last

as long as we could

until it was time

to go back inside.


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Does his dresser still have our initials

carved into its side

with a knife-made-heart

framing them?

I wonder if you feel how deep

the markings are

with your index finger—


On the mornings he

goes to work,

you are left with

a naked mattress.

Or maybe you convinced him

to get a comforter set.

Maybe he makes his bed



When it rains, does he look

at you?

He stays in his room

and doesn’t take

his medication

so he can feel the pain

a little bit longer.

He is trying not to yell

at you,

so he ignores you



Do you stare at the toy

in his therapist’s waiting room?

The one that has the beads

you can slide along

the green, red, yellow, blue

skinny rods—

The roller coaster controlled

by little hands.


I hope when he takes you

to New Jersey

he buys you dresses too.

I want you to have

a caricature done

of you two

at a festival

and I want him to

smile at you

when you dress up

and when you don’t dress up

and when you are in sweats,

concentrating hard

on your laptop screen.


I want him to ask you

what you bought at Target

with your mom,

how your day was with

your best friend,

what you had for dinner—


When you see your

reflection in his TV

I want you to feel real,

and not like a character

in one of his

video games.


I couldn’t be the girl he drew

in his comics,

the one who always saved him

from the dark monster

living in his mind.

Thank you for being

the girl in the next edition

that takes over.

I no longer wonder

if he fell out of frame.


I live in another story now

and there are no more pages

left for him.

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White knuckles

My hands hurt

from metaphorically

holding onto you,

tightest grip—

knuckles white.

I still see you

when I am alone

at night and

the TV is flashing

from the other room,


I try to listen

to something other

than the memories

of squeaking swings

of a swing set

we were almost

too big for.

But you are tall

in my shadows

with that white hat

you used to wear,

your long, highlighted

hair getting caught up

in everything you

carried. And

those Abercrombie

smells embedded

in your tank tops and

in the stitches of your

new jeans

follow me in the mall,

in the movies, and

as I sit in my room.

When Blink 182 played

on your iPod

we threw our arms up.

We jumped, swayed,

and grabbed

each other’s hands

until our knuckles

turned white.

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Hollow inside

My guitar left

un-played in the

dusty, awkward

corner of my room.

It fills a space

between my TV

and a cabinet,

just the right

size with its

body sticking out

only a little,

and the legs of its

stand almost

glued to the floor.

It’s been so long

since the neck

has been touched.

The hollow inside

used to fill up

with sound,

but now there

are only echoes

of when I tried

so hard to


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Photo credit: power959.com

Photo credit: power959.com

Wednesday night,

Bill and Bob’s

Roast Beef

drive thru.

Brian pulls up

to the speaker.

“Hello, um


the voice

yells at us

without giving

us a chance to


I look at Brian

and his eyes


“Um, hi…”

Brian responds.

“So are you

going to order,

or what?”

The speaker


Again Brian

and I exchange


“Is this a joke?

What the hell?”

I say loud.

“Ah, yes I want

to order,”

Brian says giving

back the attitude.

“Yup, great,

what do you

want finally?”

“Well you can stop

being rude to me”


“Well, okay then…”

Brian is finally

able to order.

He then requests

for them to not

put any sauce on

the sandwiches,

to which

the speaker


“Did we ever

say that we

were going

to put sauce

on it?


Did we say


about sauce

at all?


I was shaking.

No one,

I mean,

No one,

talks to

my best friend

like that.


I get out

of the car.

I walk in

to the restaurant.

Take big

strides up

to the counter.

Demand to know

who we were

speaking to.


EVER speak

to customers

like that.”

I yelled.

“We already

put your order in.

What more

do you want?”

the 30-something

year-old guy

asked me,

with a small

hint of a smirk

and annoyance

on his face.

“An apology,”

I said matter-of-


“Look, it’s been

a very

busy night.

And I don’t know

if that is your


in the car,

or whoever he is,

but he said no


and we never

put sauce on


unless the customer


Or whatever he is?

I swallow.

“Oh, and we are

supposed to know that?

Every. Place. Is.


Besides, as soon

as we pulled up

to the speaker

you didn’t even

give us a chance

to speak.

So don’t you dare

blame him for

“making you

be disrespectful

to him”

about the no sauce


because you were

screaming at him

the moment

we pulled up.

Before we even


And I am sorry

you are busy,

and that you are

having a rough

night but

you never

talk to customers

like that.

It is unprofessional,




I was shaking

and I wanted

to cry I was

so angry.


As I was


he was not

just some

absolute jerk

that works

at a Bill and Bobs

Roast Beef.

He became everyone

that has ever

thrown food at me

at the lunch table

in high school,

made fun of

how I talked,

how I looked,

who I liked,

what I liked,

and who I was


for years

and years

and years

would not

leave me


I finally got my

voice back

and finally

could stand up

against a counter

and demand

to be listened to

because now

as an adult,

as a customer,

as a human being,

I have the right

to ask for

an apology.

And once I got

what I needed,

I turned around,

walked out of the

place, got back

into the car,

and Brian smiled.

“You showed them,

Em. You did it.”

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No longer

Photo credit: balletnews.co.uk

Photo credit: balletnews.co.uk

It’s so weird

to think

about your


I can’t picture

you having

one without

me there or

without my

card or present

or hug.

I can’t picture the


the look on your


or what cards you

got in the mail

this year.

I can’t picture


You are not in

my life

and have not

been in my

life for two years.

Is it selfish

and single minded

of me

to not be able

to imagine you

aging outside

of my memory?

To me you

are two years

younger than

you are now

and will never

grow because

I don’t want to

know you now.

I don’t know

who you are,

where you are,

or how you are

right now.

But to me

today is not

your birthday.

It only

used to be.

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Photo credit: downtrend.com

Photo credit: downtrend.com

My ex-boyfriend

now works at

the gas station

I usually go to.

I resolve to never

go there again.

But then I

think over and

over again

in my mind

about things

I wish I

could say to him

at that gas



Fill it with

the regular please.

The regular

bullshit you gave


The regular attitude.

The scruffy facial


and glares,


and nasty


Fill it up.

Use this card.

Use it up.

Like you did

to me.


I don’t need

a receipt,

because I


I don’t hate you.

I just really

truly miss



How is he

doing by the


He was mine


you know.

I think about


a lot.


Have a nice

day, though.

I don’t wish

bad things

for you.

I actually

do want to

know how

you are doing.

I want you

to look me

in the eye

and give me

my card back.

But it is

the only thing

I want back

from you.

Because I want

you to keep

what I meant

from the past

even if

I wish I still

had it.

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