I’d like a souvenir with a different memory.

I still associate you with all things crustacean.
I turn the corner and without warning
a lobster in miniature inserts his claws
inside my ribcage, aiming to pinch my heart.

At the thrift store, I avert my eyes
from gazing upon anything associated
with the sea.

What was once swells of love
became tidal waves of betrayal and heartbreak
crashing against the vulnerable place
I prefer to show to no one.

If I could deconstruct your nonexistent backbone,
I would strategically place each severed vertebrae:
on top of window sills, in mail boxes,
under our favorite bench at the dog park–
each bone demarcating the space between
staying and leaving.

 

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