The Other Side of Summer

I am a scraped knee waiting for a bandage
disinfect me with alcohol

I am half ice cube, half puddle
kept afloat by the skin I’ve shed
sitting atop my melted memories

I am the pucker after your first sip of lemonade
eyes shut tight, nose crinkled
lick your lips 1000 times
try to will my bitterness away

I am the film in your camera
the Empire State Building
your firecracker ice pop
double exposure

I am the rock in your pocket
deceptively heavy in your hands
skip me across the river
but let me sink
I need the water to kiss my jagged edges

I know you never will.

he calls you
not because you hold everyone together
when the wind tries so hard
to scatter souls
or because your eyes flash hints of silver
when you talk about your favorite song
or because your lip ring taints your kisses

because he can downsize you in an instant
replacing you with a version of yourself
that doesn’t weigh his pockets down
your body now too small to hold your essence
and a mouth that will only open wide enough
to swallow.
you are easily forgotten
but somehow always end up
attached to his keychain.

because he can bend you to his will
and you don’t even notice
until everything else
begins falling out of your grasp.
every time he snaps you back into place
the world has only changed
but a fraction of a centimeter
and you’re used to measuring your life in kilometers.

because he is a staple
leaving puncture wounds in everything he touches
a few drops of blood in every corner of your mind
and when you learn how to extract him from your heart
no goodbye is successful enough to patch
permanent holes you fold yourself in upon
and pretend not to notice.
to this day,
that chapter of your life remains dog-eared
and you wonder
why you still have trouble
picking locks.