Maybe compassion isn’t
what you need.
Maybe a hard slap
would be more help.

I love you!
I’m supposed to be your girlfriend!
I sat at that table
for an hour!
You didn’t even text!

     But I lost my phone. It was in that jacket I left
     at Anthony’s.

So what? You could have called me
from a payphone. If you’d remembered
we had a date.

     But I didn’t have your number. It was in my phone.

I asked you
when this happened before
to write my number
on a piece of paper
along with that of your mother
and your brother
and your best friend
and your therapist
and put it
in your wallet.
But you don’t give a damn,
do you?
If you cared
you wouldn’t
let it happen.

     I do care!
     More than anyone
     knows. But…

     when I get home
     and Pete comes out of his room
     and says,
     d’you want a beer?…

     It’s like a hissing
     in my head, a pulling
     in my guts,

     especially at that
     time of day… the dusk,
     the orange light…

You’re afraid.


What is it?
What are you scared of?

     falling asleep with nothing
     but my own blood
     in my veins

     Of waking up alone
     with the lucid sun
     in my eyes

     And of waking up
     next to you
     and that terrifying
     of yours.

(First published in The Beat Press)