somewhere in the middle 11

…outside the air was warm
the breeze was hot
my skin was burning with the weight of the ocean
and it was all a sweet distraction from the soft click of a closing door
i saw the sun today
i saw it today everywhere in every direction
in the corner of my eyes each way i turned
and it was a sweet distraction from what used to be nothing
i felt lost today
i felt as if i didn’t know where i was going
where i would end up soon
like this direction i was going in was new
like i should have turned around
i felt lost today
because before
you were always the final destination
i felt lost today
but some piece of me
felt that this new turn was right
i felt empty today
because a piece of me a size i couldn’t fathom was being ripped away
torn piece by piece
clawed by my own fingernails
and i didn’t know how to make it okay for me
a piece of me a size i couldn’t fathom was gone
and i didn’t turn around to chase it
didn’t look for it any longer
didn’t pause my life to test how much it could hurt and how much longer i could keep it there
i let it go
and i was hoping it to be one of the best decisions i’ve ever made
second to choosing you before
because as much as you removed the ground from under me when i was kneeling on it to stay alive
because as much as you withheld love from me to give to yourself
you were a love i got used to
a love i became addicted to
a love that enticed what was empty
seduced what was lonely
a love i never knew
because you were a love i got used to
you were a love
a love that destroyed and rebuilt
only once
you were a love
a love that wasn’t much of a love at all…

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somewhere in the middle 10

…i left that room for the last time
and didn’t look back
didn’t want a lasting image of what perfected love looked like
i left that room for the last time
no thoughts of ever returning
to a love that gave up on me
and you were there
no longer on the couch
and no longer caring
you were there
with a drowning heart
and inside of me waves were crashing against thinning skin
but i didn’t slow down
i kept going
kept going out of your life
and into my own…

somewhere in the middle 9

…i shoved clothes into a bag
because i couldn’t stay here
not like this
not with you
when reminders lingered across the walls
and hid in the crevices of the ugly curtains
i couldn’t stay here
not like this
not with you
when reminders of love made itself comfortable in our sheets
or slamming doors echoed in my ear
and rainstorms replayed over and over
i couldn’t stay here
not like this
not with you
because i knew
just like that one time
when the clouds were blue inside
and rage made my skin burn
the sky was a stormy gray
inside
and you
you
opened closed door after closed door
laid beside me
wrapped yourself into my arms
and cooled ignited rage
and somehow then
i was asking for your forgiveness…

somewhere in the middle 8

…i left the room alone
went back into the bedroom and closed the door
tried to slam it
but had no energy left in me
i left the room alone
the image of you curled into the couch
gripping the seat
digging your fingernails into the flesh of your hand
biting your lips enough to draw blood
tears unwillingly pouring down your face dripping off your chin and drowning your heart
was burned onto the back of my eyelids
so i kept them open
kept them open as long as i could
hoped that keeping them open was nothing compared to the length of time i kept open a space for you in my life
i kept them open and let the tears flow
wanting this to be the last time i cried over you
i left the room alone
fought hard to ignore your vocalized pleas
your whimpers of pain
knowing that if i turned around again
i would never stop turning
i would never stop turning
never stop turning
the other cheek
facing the other direction
leaving you to remain backless when i reached out for you
so i left the room alone
and closed the door
i kept my eyes open for as long as i could
and closed the door…

somewhere in the middle 7

…it was time
because dragging out the day made it worse
i couldn’t paint ceilings anymore
or start fires
or catch falling clouds
it was time
because dragging out the day made it worse
so i stood
and you noticed something seemed off
so you sat upright
thought better and leaned into the couch
needed something to hold the puddle of tears you’d tell me you’d become
and i came over to you
tried to sit next to you
but your love started wrapping around me
tightening across the cords
i stood again
paced the room
and you were silent
didn’t need a rush into the breaking of your heart
and i tried to get my thoughts together
but nothing was rational
because there was no gentle way to break someone’s heart
and i couldn’t say sorry to you
because it was relief for me
so i questioned how to say sorry for what feels like pieces of me forming back together
for weights to crush completely
i stopped
stopped trying to get my thoughts together
because there was too much to say
i didn’t try to sit next to you
wrap you into my arms
hold your chin in my hands
or kiss your tears away
because i had tears of my own
i didn’t try to sit next to you
because i needed to stand with me
instead i opened my mouth and told you
told you that piecing you together was painful
that before the cuts could heal
my fingers were sliced opened again
told you that piecing you together was painful
because you never understood
told you that being there for you was so easy for me
until i was kneeling on my own
head bent and forcing a prayer
that being there for you was so easy for me
until my knees were bleeding and not a shard of glass scratched the surface of your skin
told you that not breathing hurt
that my throat was cracked from all the reminders that you couldn’t hold on to
told you that as much as i loved you
my love would never be enough
because you still felt like no one loved you
i told you how i was afraid for you
because i had to leave
and you would feel what true loneliness felt like
that it wasn’t just darkness crawling across your skin
but worry etching into the creases and ache into the blood
that it was a heartbeat so slow you had to question if it was still there
and tears that formed but never flowed down your face
that it was emptiness flooding any minuscule feeling of euphoria
and numbness washing over your mind
so i cried for you
put my hands together
looked into the ceiling for answers i wished were there for you
because i could no longer show you how to love yourself when it felt like love was being pulled from me
and then i looked down at you
watched how your face reflected my pain doubled and i cried for you
i cried for us
because i wanted so bad for this to work
and then i paced the room
thought about you and me
thought about what this day would mean
and thought better of it
because
no
you deserved for your heart to be ripped to shreds
broken into a thousand pieces of glittering glass
clawed out with my nails as i tried to keep myself from falling
you deserved for your heart to be soaked with my tears
and drowning in yours
because somewhere in the middle
i loved you more than anything
and maybe that was my fault
but you toyed with my feelings
and forgot that a relationship was two people
somewhere in the middle
you mattered more than us
and you forgot
and forgot
and forgot
and
you forgot
and i was still there
so you deserved to have your heart burning
and beating with less passion
for your heart to burn to a crisp and blow like ashes in the wind for you to choke on
because your love was dangerous
and the amount i returned nearly killed me
your poor heart deserved rocks thrown at it just to miss at the last second
because somewhere in the middle
i was sure you stopped loving me
and you left me
to figure out why…

somewhere in the middle 6

…we were sitting there
you on the couch
me with my back against the window
we were sitting there
and your legs were thrown over the couch
a book in your hand
and you couldn’t focus
but we were sitting there
the space seeming empty
our tongues dried
so quiet that the crackling of the heat popped in my ears
but i didn’t say a word
for my dried tongue and tied knots
i couldn’t say a word
because this wasn’t the right time
and i didn’t know exactly when that would be
but memories were something i knew i’d cherish
and i didn’t want to ruin this memory for you
that time in the summer
when the sun was leaving
and so was the orange of your eyes
and you were sitting on the couch
me against the window
and paint was on your fingertips
and your canvas was your inner child
and blues mixed with greens
and purples
and reds mixed with whites
and nothing was ordinary
except everything seemed to be
and there was a smile on my face
because your lips were upturned
and you got up from the couch
picked up the paint
dropped the canvas
made your way over slowly
shadows catching your curves
the curls in your crown
but did nothing for the smile
and you got up from the couch
made your way over to me
got on bended knees
and dared to mark my face
showed me where all the things you loved rested
and i couldn’t close my eyes
because i was mesmerized by your love
and the dark pink behind your eyes
and i locked away this moment
the moment when you pulled me away from the windows
and the ceiling was being painted…

somewhere in the middle 5

…half the morning went by
and we went back inside
and you made me breakfast this time
because you needed to do something with your hands
you said sitting still would overload the thoughts
so i sat on the stool and watched you move
trying to find the words
the movements
to override the thickening silence
because my thoughts were starting to spill over
so i stood
turned on the radio
drowned out the thoughts
pushed aside the pretty curtains
opened the windows
and pulled you to me
you tried to resist
but that gleam behind the pain told me that you needed this as much as i did
so our bodies became one
and your head was against my chest
and we were swaying to the beat of the song
and i couldn’t hear your whispers
and you couldn’t see the tears that were welling in my eyes
and for that i was grateful
i don’t remember how long we stayed there like that
but i did remember the flames
and how the blood was boiling
and how you ran over
and i stood still
knowing they needed to be put out
just not knowing how to do it
i promise you weren’t the only one who saw them…

somewhere in the middle 4

…you joined me in the grass
and it made the day more painful
because i couldn’t walk away when i needed to
you joined me in the grass
and my throat squeezed
when your fingers found mine
laced through and tightened
i wasn’t prepared for lost of breath
of new sights of life that were passing along in the clouds to fall
and when i asked for your thoughts
you were honest with me
you told me how you were afraid
that once the day was over
that there was no room in your heart for moving on
that once the day was over
that there would be no room left over for loving yourself
because now
everything was wrapped up in me
and you and somehow in that space between
that the space before and after
was filled with air so thick that life no longer existed there
and i tried to ignore
how my heart quickened its pace there
how my mind wanted to scream that those feelings were too short of healthy
but i couldn’t
because those same thoughts were mine
and you told me
told me
that you were afraid that later
when the day was over
that the kitchen would never be painted
and it reminded me of a time somewhere in the middle
when
i surprised you with an early morning breakfast
we laid a blanket over licked grasses on the edge of a field
near its oldest tree
and i gave you my sweater
because i wanted to feel the chill on my skin
i laid back against the tree
and you sat across from me
eyes tired
your smile saying you were anything but
and we sat in silence
you looked into my eyes
and fed me grapes
up until positions were switched
when your eyes were downcast
and suddenly
you were too cold
not hungry
sitting still made you uncomfortable
and you rubbed your eyes
blamed it on the darkness that was staying too long
so i pulled you to me
between my legs
and you stretched out
laid back
and i wrapped my arms around your shoulders
bent my head in the crook of your neck
and whispered how beautiful you were
told you that the rising sun couldn’t touch how bright your spirit
that your love was so good
it was painful
and could bring me to bended knee one day
and you giggled
started swaying and asked for more
so i told you
your love couldn’t compare to the need to breathe
because with you i was almost always out of breath
and i could hear the smile in your voice
and i didn’t say anything
because i knew you wouldn’t hear the smile in mine…

somewhere in the middle 3

…i got out of bed because the air was feeling too thin
and i could feel the remnants of screams racing up my throat
so i left the room
walked through the closing hallway
past the white kitchen
that you used to paint bright with your smile
and out into the morning
i tried standing
but my feelings weighed too heavy
so i laid there
in dew stained grass
and watched the sky
tried not to spot the shapes in the clouds because somewhere in the middle you did that too
instead i laid there
and thought
wondered how we got to this point
where it all started
when feelings started to diminish
and become too great
all at the same time
wondered how my love could be so great
that fear of losing you
became fear of losing me
wondered how my love could be so great
that dreams of me and you
erased dreams of mine
wondered how my love could be so great
that in taking care of you
i stopped looking after myself
that in taking care of you
i stopped taking care of me
i
wondered
how my love could be so strong
that in taking care of you
i stopped loving me
that your dreams became my beliefs
but you filled all my voids
so i stayed
and tried to make it seem
as if it was okay…

somewhere in the middle 2

…we were laying there
i was watching you
you were watching me
and i wanted this memory to last forever
because i didn’t know where things would be after the day
so i lifted my hand
for my fingers to glide across your cheek
and you raised your hand to stop me
said that you didn’t want to start
because you’d never want to stop
and i didn’t know how to tell you
that all i wanted was for our legs to be tangled like typical mornings
for my arms to be wrapped around your waist
for my head to rest in the crook of your neck
just to lay there with you
in the quiet of the morning
but all i could remember
was somewhere in the middle
that one time
when the autumn leaves were falling
and the curtains were swaying
and the sun was setting
and i was pacing in the yellow hallway
and you were locked in the bathroom
and the walls were seeming to close in on me
pushing me up against the door
and the walls were seeming to close in on me
and the closer i got to the door
the more i could hear your soft cries
in between your screams
and how the sound of me banging echoed
and when the walls were seeming to close in on me
and you were screaming at me to leave
and you couldn’t decide
because you needed someone to help pick you up
and glue you back together with sliced fingertips
and bloodstained glass
you were screaming at me to leave
and you couldn’t decide
because you needed someone to tell you how beautiful you were
and i was screaming at the door
broken eyes
i was screaming at the door
because you were beautiful
with brown eyes
and full lips
dark skin
widened figure
you were beautiful
and i told you how i hated anyone who ever told you that you weren’t
because sometimes those pieces of glass were too small for me to grasp…