Apologies

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I was fucking someone else
when we met, and that I told him I was seeing you
to make him like me more,
on the advice of Cosmo, and my aunt
who hates her husband.
It didn’t work.
He told me he didn’t want to get
in the middle of things, then put a hickey
on my breast.
I put a Band-Aid over it,
told you it was a mosquito bite.
I’m sorry you believed me.

I’m sorry that you only felt safe
enough to tell me you loved me
when I was asleep, your body
covering mine like an anemone,
long limbs wrapped around me,
the branches of a parasitic tree.
I woke up once
to hear you whispering, less
a declaration than a prayer.
I’m sorry I didn’t stir.
I’m sorry that it only took me
ten trash bags to pack up my life
with you, and that I left in the night
like an immigrant fleeing
the failed experiment of a new beginning
for the familiar devastation of my homeland.
I’m sorry your love became a finger trap; the harder
my pull, the tighter your grip.

I am leaving you the cat
because you asked me to,
because she would die
without you.

by S. J. Bridgins

Return to Issue 42