I can be
both grateful and bitter
For the tenderness you receive
I would never leave you alone, and I
weep and shake with thanks that the world didn't leave you that way
Maybe I am a selfish lover after all
To feel snide about a good person, doing a good thing.
But I, lover,
I would swallow your pain like the shattered glass of your windshield
I would try on your black bruises and host your fractures
Like parasites beneath my skin
And maybe, maybe this is my penance
For the last time someone I loved
Wrapped whiskey and steel around the trunk of a tree
Was plucked, flesh and splintered bone,
one barb at a time,
from a wire fence
And forty seven days later
when she finally remembered my name
and I cried with relief
I kissed her boyfriend, who never could turn his neck quite around after it broke that night with her.
And in the darkest nights
of rehab and blame
I took what didn't belong
to her anymore
But it didn't belong to me.
And some years later
Her little girl brain
Fucked the father of my child
and fell in love.
And maybe I have to pay in what I took out
When you're strong enough
to slip the fingers
On your unbroken hand
Into her wet and patient pussy
Because after all, she was there
She took you to the hospital
She took you into her home.
She showed for all of the things I couldn't
And she was nice enough.