WHEN I SHOULD HAVE LEFT YOU

When we stopped fucking in bed
but instead hunched over like the sick

on the side of the couch, the pool table,
the front seat of your Cadillac, no longer

the passionate lovemaking of the newly
obsessed attempting to crawl into each

other’s skin—more the way a cat will play
with a mouse long after it is dead.

When I accidentally coughed up
my tongue at the dinner party. Out

it fell like a piece of veal on the mashed
potatoes. I hardly recognized it; I swallowed it

so long ago. When I realized I felt most
in love with you when I was high, after

you shared those pills with me, the chalky
marbles prescribed to the terminally ill

that made everything soft and slow.
Perhaps this was your gift to me. Perhaps

you knew all along—like a surgeon
placing the plastic mask over my mouth,

counting back from twenty—how
this was going to hurt.


- Sierra DeMulder

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