Grenades beneath my sternum

by Talicha J.

If my palms ever left trails of napalm burning into the flesh of your back,
if my tongue’s sharp edges like shards of broken glass ever left your mouth filled with metallic wine,
if I happened to use each vertebrae along your spine as a trigger I’d let slip or,
if my eyes whispered promises into your ear that I couldn’t bring myself to keep…
I want to say I’m sorry, I apologize, show remorse.


I remember the wave of us crashing into my core,
how I struggled to expand my lungs,
they quickly filled with muck and
left me gasping,
chest burning as if you’d planted grenades beneath my sternum,
pins pulled.
My rib cage lined with mines you landed your fingertips on softly to remind me that
I’m exploding inside an inferno you built.


I’d never go down without a fight,
using the tip of my index finger across the contours of your chest to trace the only thing we both believed in,
‘I Love You’ never seemed adequate enough to fill the vast expanse of flesh
where I could press the side of my face and listen to the way you pushed and pulled,
it appeared as if oxygen and I were always competing to fill you.


Your kiss always held secrets my kiss would beg for,
your breath leaving trails of hints along my neck and collar bone that you were hiding,
I’d let your body continue lying to me as long as it was lying next to me.
Would believe the allegories your arms would tell as they’d pull me close,
in hindsight with insight I see you were pulling to push.
Your head resting in your palms would be the closest I’d ever get to seeing you on your knees for me,
tell me, do you think you’d still find me pretty from that angle?


My esophagus knew all along,
lacked the bravery to share it’s knowledge with my heart.
I often ponder about what could have been had I spoke what we’d both been thinking.
Would our bed sheets have still smelled like desperation?
Could we have found our courage beside the shaky barstools in back alley dives with sticky wooden bars and drunken eyes that could see through our pretense?


It hurts a hell of a lot less now than it did then;
Picking the shrapnel from your heart out of my lips.


I have to say I’m not sorry, I don’t apologize, I can’t show remorse,
I promised myself I wouldn’t lie to you again if I ever had the chance.
I hope you’re happy.
Hope she doesn’t walk around steel toed,
pray her tongue has the power to heal you where I cut deepest.
I still love you, I know you believe that, but we both knew it was never going to be enough.

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