Tipped Velvet

//neckties stained with laughter
forbidden touch
sprawled out on a stage
toes and wallpaper buckling
under the weight
of every unspoken desire//

I’ve turned my ear
to every screeching road
and know nothing louder
than the space that pulsed
between my t-shirt and hers
swaying and receding
her sleeping chest
whispering cues to the wind

Nameless cities whipped past my eyes
mystery slipped down the hall
fully clothed but for a pale shoulder
shifting from her coat and winking at my ritual
the cruelty of rubber cement
the collage of who I needed
cut from who I had

I had no idea what loving her would look like
so I found a hat box
with a mismatched lid
and slid pieces of her hair
slid newspaper clippings
slid songs recorded backwards
all of their tape ripped from their stomachs

//How do you chase
what insists on walking slowly away?
How do you chase
what fear has swallowed whole?//

She is the one I am learning to lose
the one that shows up, uninvited
crawling out from under my bed
glued carelessly together
and whispering for the wind to blow against my neck

//Please uncurl my fingers
break them if you have to
because if I don’t stop the song now
I won’t sit in the barber’s chair
and let her be snipped from my shoulders
one last time//

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