Ian Sollars CC
Healing is Not Linear
The past still reaches out with cold hands
from my dreams. But these days, I sleep
beside the warmest body. His residual heat
melts those icicle fingers before they can close
around my throat. Once upon a time I set fire
to my diary entries about you, burning
with all I wanted to say to you long after
the ashes were scattered. Now, I can’t remember
a single word. Once upon a time I made a dandelion
of my torn-out eyelashes, blew it into the wind
and wished for your suffering. Now, I wish you
a love like the one I came to know after you.
Miracle love that sprouted despite my salted soil.
Anesthetic love – erases the pain of every bruise
I have ever known. You are no more real to me now
than the yellowing memory of that mark you left
on my neck the night before I never saw you again.
An old wound since healed, leaving no trace.
A bad dream I simply roll over, shake my head
I wanted the next time you saw my name
to be on a marquee in whatever city you’re living –
I hoped you would come to the show
alone, crouch in the back by the bar, and listen
to me read scathing poetry you know is about you
because I mention that Sonic we’d meet at
when the stars of my open hour and your lunch break
aligned where I pined for your flitting tongue
as it knotted each stem from my cherry limeade.
And that Wendy’s far enough out of town
we could hold hands in I wish would burn down.
I hoped you’d be flattered enough to stop me afterward
in the alley and ask if I’ll sign your copy so I can say no.
Or offer to buy me a drink in the lobby of the hotel
where you’re staying so I can say no. Or invite
me up to your room so I can say no – not coughed
up by the algorithm in ‘people you may know.’
I couldn’t rely on you for closure, so I had to make my own.
Every imagined scenario in which I tell you ‘no’
making up for the way my traitor skin cells sweated
Yes for you through my shirt. Sometimes I take out the box
I keep the snake of your memory in and stick my fingers inside.
The venom loses its bite with each passing year.
Still like a drug to me, it hits my bloodstream and the jaws
of the past unhinge to swallow me whole. It is a sweet
sort of torture. It is the only evidence I have keeping what happened
between us from disappearing into the tall grass of history.
I deleted all your midnight texts, but I have kept
the secret of us so long that to forget feels as wrong
as remembering. When the internet served my face
up on its unceremonious silver platter,
did you even stop scrolling?
It wasn’t so long ago when I was too weak
to resist even a crumb from the feast
of information on your Facebook page. When I gorged
myself on the places you checked in, the people
in your tagged photos. Now here I am: one click
away from relapse and my mouth doesn’t even water.
Now I know all my fantasies about denying you
were too grandiose. I will settle for this small victory
in clicking ‘remove.’ Your smiling icon vanishes
into cyberspace and I feel lighter
like I shed a skin.
Madison Gill is a poet and journalist from Colorado. An alumni of Colorado State University-Pueblo, her poetry has appeared in print and online with such publications as Tiny Spoon, From Whispers to Roars, The Write Launch, Tempered Steel, and others. She lives on the Western Slope of Colorado where she is building a tiny home as phase one of her master plan to gradually retreat from society.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.