There were days when it looked like love,
especially if you turned down the volume.
But even if you didn’t.
Bus rides asleep on each other’s
shoulders, sharing an ear-bud
plugged into a song
as if sharing a secret.
Afternoons where we stayed in
our pajamas and played video games
after he bought us twin bodega sandwiches
and remembered mine without the meat.
And while I look back
on the memories with equal, if not more
repulsion, I know that I wasn’t an idiot
to stay. That my heart invented
its own verb which meant To Love
The Dog Who Licks The Scar It Gave You.
On a dirty bar couch on Valentine’s Day
he said I would fight with you every morning
if it meant I could kiss you at night and at the time
it didn’t sound like the Codependent National Anthem
or a vending machine where you put in fury
and get out passion
or even like the things I read now
in pamphlets—the ones I thrust upon other women
like my own righteous gospel—
it sounded like the sweetest thing
he’d ever said to me. A poem
I could fold real small and carry
around in my locket, not noticing, for months
how it also kind of