I think you take the way he says your name and
squeeze it tight.
You roll his voice around,
his voice with the rising lilt of something he calls love
the hopeful stutter at the beginning of your name
that trips away into silence, silence that becomes a word
you don’t know how to pronounce.
You reach into the air and take those sounds,
grip them fiercely, and bring that ball to your mouth.
You swallow his voice because that way
you can keep him inside of you, even when he walks away,
even when he’s in bed with someone else. At least
when he hurts you, you can vomit up everything he said
and remember that he treasured your name.
I think you collect his shivers along his spine
and put them in empty milk bottles that you line up
on the windowsill. You hoard away the involuntary quirks
of his lips and count them when the moon is cold,
and he is out drinking, and your bed is empty.
Because then at least when he doesn’t come home,
you can tell yourself that his body is yours.
And when he hurts you for the final time
and rides off into the sunset like you’d dreamed
on a white horse with a damsel that’s not you,
you’ll tell yourself it was him all along and that you
did nothing wrong. And you didn’t, trust me,
But if you’d forgotten the sound of your name on his tongue
and if you’d gathered up his eyelashes and blew them to the wind
long, long ago, perhaps you would have realised that
the world isn’t black and white,
and you can’t blame anyone
and you can blame everyone
but it won’t make you feel any better.