sending smoke signals

Buried in sheets of paper my hands have been
frantic to remove you from my body, every winter,
but I cannot release the agony. The banging pain,
drumming through my chest that it echoes through the ribcage,
leaving imprints of agony everywhere it’s been.
The searing of frosted air
racing into the lungs as I gasp an intake, remembering the unread letters,
drifting through the past that belonged to only us,
as fragile memories, destined to shatter
float under my skin.

I saw you touch her naked waist when I came home
that night, I saw you run your fingers down her neck before you kissed her
like you’d been waiting a lifetime
and held her head in your hands.
It was the moment I understood my purpose.
Forever a plot device,
ever advancing the story of someone else’s life
at the expense of my own character development.

You tracked me down five years later to tell me you made her your wife.

Ten years to tell me she gave you two sons.

Fifteen to tell me you’re single again and screwing someone new every weekend.
“You could be in my bed at midnight, again,” you said.
“I love how sacrificial you are. I’m needing that lately.”

How many cars have I set fire to on the tundra,
sending smoke signals in the hopes that I could find freedom? A savior?
How many times have I tried to drown in snow
by the lake in the mountains with the shore made of stones?

Trapped in an enzo,
melted into its shape
against my will,
that where I end
you always begin.

Buried in sheets of paper or fanning flames in the desert,
you always find me
and break into the place I hide to show me the life you built,
to thank the girl that eased your progression
from a hopeless boy, into a lover,
into a leather jacket, into a man,
into a father, into a poltergeist,

into foolish hope

into ash

and smoke.

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