The Bunk Bed

I really have become quite the poet lately—I wanted to show you guys some of what I’ve been working on.

when I was in the third grade,
I would put everything I had ruined onto my top bunk:
dolls I’d broken by mistake,
assignments I’d forgotten,
wrappers from candy I shouldn’t have eaten—but did.

it was like a different plane, up there,
one where my mistakes couldn’t hurt me
and where my mother could never find them

as I got older, the contents changed:
my broken heart instead of a doll,
photos of friends who had forgotten me,
containers of food that I should have eaten—but didn’t.

it’s been seven years
and I’ve still got that same bunk bed, just in a different house
I’m still seeing the same sky, just from a different window
and I’ve been given the impossible task
of trying to fit you up there with all the rest of my mistakes

you see, my dear, I don’t think a bed can hold
a thousand kisses,
or a billion smiles,
or a trillion I love yous.
it couldn’t hold the way you’d cradle me while I cried,
or the way your eyes lit up when you sang to me,
or the way we were always saying goodbye

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye,
I think it starts to lose its meaning when you’ve said it so many times—
I know you’d agree, my darling.

I think I’m starting to forget what your face looks like.
I think I’m starting to remember the fact
that goodbye never really meant much back then,
and now that it’s really happening,
I’m lost and alone

maybe someday I’ll be able to put your memory up there with all those other things I destroyed—
out of sight, out of mind, out of my heart and out of my lungs

sometimes, when I think about you, there’s a taste of burnt popcorn in my mouth
sometimes there’s the taste of saccharine—sweet, but never quite full enough to matter
and sometimes there’s the taste of cyanide,
of pain and ruin and rot because
in the end, that’s all you ever gave me

That’s all we ever gave each other.

you tainted me, and in return I ruined you.
you may have broken my heart,
but I think I might have damaged
whatever was left of your soul.

and I think if I try to make my bed
hold the weight of all those memories,

it’s going to fall to ashes.

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