You said: I love you. Keep going.
So I say: I love you. Keep going.
while i rinse dinner plates and place them into the dishwasher
as i try to make my situation better, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day
when I close my eyes and trace the memory of your face with my fingers
as I lay my daughter in her crib, knowing how much she’ll need those words when she’s older
while I swallow my cocktail of depressants
through the side effects: shaky hands, trouble sleeping, suicidal thoughts
when I move from shared bed to couch to pull-out sofa and back again
at 3 o’clock in the morning when I’m lying awake, thinking of all the reason to give up
in my endless search for a fulfilling job, or just one that pays the bills
while I await Angela’s call to tell me I’m next in line, and then I’ll have to make the decision
when I motor through the Pennsylvania countryside at 30 miles per hour, looking in my rear view mirror for a phantom scooter.
during my first beer, then my second, but not a third, because I know better
and then after I finish the third, because self control was never my forte
sipping my sarsaparilla out of the bottle while I smile and think of you
to numb the pain I’ll feel from my first tattoo
when I’m rinsing purple dye from my hair
while I dance with my daughter in the kitchen to bad pop music or Motown or anything that takes away the pain
while I sit on the porch with my father, feet pressed against the wooden banister, inhaling his cigar smoke
while I close my eyes and imagine being back in my local indie bookstore, sipping a smoothie from a straw, eating homemade baklava, and laughing with the baristas behind the counter.
as I read this poem aloud in front of a room full of people
an act I would have never done
if it weren’t for you.
I love you. Keep going
to myself, every day, every moment.
because this is the hardest goodbye i’ve ever had to say
and loving you was just so easy
and loving myself is always so hard