Seven pebbles in your unmarked hands:
Tears rolling down my face as mine protest at their emptiness,
I watch your dirt covered frame receding over the horizon,
Leaving me with the silence of the trees.

Eleven times I glance in your direction:
Watching you walk with the crème de la crème of the self-proclaimed kings,
A slight falter in your step when you notice my gaze,
That goes unnoticed by everyone else.

Fifteen times I tell myself to breathe:
As I watch your spotted face approaching like an exploding star,
Your breath mingling with mine as our lips touch,
And you steal my breath away for the very first time.

Seventeen bottles of beer that we steal in one month:
A tangle of confused limbs and hurried discarding of clothes,
As we lose ourselves in a cloud of smoke and chemically induced oblivion,
Sitting in your car at three in the night planning our battle strategies.

Nineteen hours we sit in each others arms before I leave:
You tell me about how your demons take the form of your brother,
Smiling with your parents as you fade into the background,
And I give you all that I have to patch your leaks.

Twenty one hours floating over a sea-of-clouds:
Shutting out screaming children protesting against the force of gravity.
You stand with crying mothers and stone-faced fathers,
Slightly taller, tanner, older and perhaps even wiser.

Twenty four roses on my birthday because I never had the heart to tell you I hate them:
A clean suit and a new dress head out to burn the town.
I end up taking off my heels and walking next to you down a misty alley-way,
Singing out-dated rock songs at the top of our intoxicated lungs.

Twenty eight steps to a white-washed gazebo:
Surrounded by the nauseating stench of musk-roses and the garbled laughter of crying couples.
You get down on both knees because you resist the status-quo,
And I say yes with dry eyes that I rub out of guilt and desperation.

Thirty guests at our small wedding by the sea:
Sighing with second hand happiness as we speak of eternal love.
A slow guitar riff encircles our swaying forms,
My head on your shoulder as you whisper that you will always love me.

Thirty two times you swear as she begins to cry again:
Her shrill cries piercing through the night and adding weight to my drooping eye-lids.
You storm out of the house after I tell you you’re not doing enough,
And I take our daughter in my arms as her tears mingle with mine.

Thirty six candles on your sugar-less chocolate cake:
That take three tries to be completely extinguished.
I kiss you on the lips then our daughter hands you a hand-made card,
And you pretend to be impressed as my stomach crawls beneath the spandex.

Thirty nine hours since you’ve been gone from home:
I pace the living room as she watches from the corner with watery eyes.
It’s four in the morning when you walk through the door and I run sobbing into your arms,
Only to recoil at the stench of perfume and alcohol.

Forty two miles to our brand new beginning:
I let our daughter hug you for the last time as I pretend to pack invisible items.
She gets into the passenger seat and I drive away without saying a word,
Pulling down my sweater sleeves to cover the finger prints.

Forty five dollars for a dress I’ll never wear:
That I buy because he likes the colour red.
I see you with a cigar balanced between your lips and my heart falls to the floor,
I run away hoping that you won’t notice, even though I know you will.

Fifty hours I lock myself in my room:
As images of a crashing car flash before my eyes.
The first time we kissed replays itself on my lips even as my eyes refuse to acknowledge your absence,
He asks me how I am, and I tell him I am fine.

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