bound by love/they cling to each other/in a one room apartment/his belongings in trash bags surround the bed/ he holds her while she cries/it isn’t enough for either of them/it never was/his addiction a shadow in the room/it still holds him/clouds his memory of the pain he has caused/her body is scarred/each slash/ something cruel that was done to her/ he tells her the scars are healing/traces them with his finger/her body stiffens at his touch/you are still beautiful he says/she says nothing/she doesn’t want to be beautiful anymore/it has only caused her pain/now in this room/with her husband/that never felt like her husband/she remembers how quick he can change/ how his sweet tongue/can turn to acid cruel/but he is recovering/just sleepy and hollow/but her body remembers/she cries/he holds her/but she is really holding him/ his new apartment/reminds her of his old one/reminds her of how they began in darkness/still clinging/how things never change/and illusions die/ the truth is a skeleton/a loss this big/ will swallow her whole/to believe in him/to keep losing someone that can not be grasped/she has lost herself/she has a history/of loving ghosts/how he looks at her now/the longing in his eyes/in the beginning/he showed her to not be afraid of her darkness/now she just wants light/his pain/this love/is suffocating her/she knows nothing else/herself/she cannot identify/what that means/to be by yourself/to take care of yourself/to love yourself enough/to leave/he tells her how he wants to hold her all night/like this/for a moment/she imagines them/falling asleep/and never waking up/this ending frozen/in time/on this bedspread the color of ashes and dirt/how hard it is to rise
the other night/she dreamt of this/seeing him again/but they weren’t like this/ he was emaciated in the dream/his cheeks drawn so thin/ a sketch of himself/and she was the same as in waking life/they lay on this dingy bed together/ tracing each others scars/hers healing/ his deep red gashes that bled on the sheets/they held on to one another/facing each other/she tries to stop the bleeding/her hands covered in his blood/ he gently pushes her hands back to her own scars/ the dream shifts/she is young again/ a teenager babysitting with another boy/ playing house/as they scramble to watch six kids/ the baby is so small/crawling away/wandering through the house to find it hidden/in closets/the basement steps/a cupboard/while they search/they hear a crash from across the street/sirens/the wailing of grief/screams/the parents come home/thank her for babysitting/seemingly unaware of the chaos/ she looks out the window/a tractor trailer truck has crashed in to the room of the little boy who lives across the street/the mother is screaming/because he is dead/but the parents inside this home/cannot see/cannot hear/they thank me again/I try to tell them I lost the baby/but the mother is holding her safe in her arms
Michelle Tinklepaugh's (aka Watters) poetry has been published in various literary magazines in the past four years. A 2020 pushcart nominee and Best New Poet nominee. Her latest poems have appeared in Misfit Magazine, The Inflectionist Review, and Rat's Ass Review. She lives in South Burlington, VT with her daughter Annabelle.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.