you must understand, I never wanted to give a name to this type of damage. the weary machine in my chest didn’t accuse you of anything, my fingertips made a conscious choice to not google my symptoms, because even after knowing you I am still terrified of hurting people. when my therapist called you ‘emotionally abusive’ I went home and cried because an eighteen-year-old should not know what it’s like to be ripped into disposable shreds. I should not be accustomed to this cracking sound in my ribs, or to the medical bill that I am still paying off to this day.
I woke up this morning to snow on my windowsills, on the stove, on my feet. everything was monochromatic, the icicles looking inviting enough for me to feel unsafe. my depression was angry, again, and locked the doors surrounding me in spite, so to stay alive inside this frozen landscape I had to burn what was available to me. I made neat piles of all the things you’ve touched and watched the flames slowly eat them alive. ghosts scream as they billow out of the ashes and, oh, it’s magnificent. this is not the first time I’ve committed a murder but it’s the first time I’ve felt good about it.
I’m desperately trying to preserve the moments I’ve felt the happiest in, while simultaneously cutting you out of them. I want to remember that drive to Pennsylvania without feeling the weight of your arm on my shoulders. I want to wear that champagne dress and not see your pink one in the background. I want to watch that video where I’m crying over something beautiful, without hearing your voice in the background. but I can’t. I have no choice but to scrap the memories, throw them in with the photographs and the ticket stubs. every calendar from 2015 goes in the pit too, 365 days tainted with your perfume. I will keep listening to the spirits fade into the atmosphere and ignore the roaring in my bloodstream. I will try to be okay with losing a year of my life to you.
I eventually looked in the mirror and couldn’t see myself anywhere. it was just your fingertips on my arms and your feet tangled against mine because I was the only one you let sleep in your bed. I stared at it for so long that it wasn’t even a mirror. you were there in front of me and you were also me and I was you and I needed out. I NEEDED OUT. my hands are cold, striking the match takes a few tries. even now as I prepare to obliterate the last thing you held, I can’t stare us in the eyes. my skin cells forget how to breathe as easily as you forgot to pretend like you knew how to care for me. I wonder whose spirit will rise out of these remains. who do my bones belong to?
iv. part ii.
as I avoided our reflection, the snow stopped. the sun remembered how powerful she can be. the icy world liquefies, sliding purposefully down the rooftop, soaking into the floorboards. and here I am, burning despite this should-be resolution. a submerged supernova at a crossroad.
iv. part iii.
how did I hurt myself before your tutorials?
iv. part iv.
I wish I wasn’t an atheist.
iv. part v.
iv. part vi.
eventually there isn’t a mirror on the wall because there isn’t a wall and there isn’t a house. I am stripped down to my bare minimum and I can see the injuries you’d tried to erase from my memory. there, on my palm, is a scar from the only boy I’ve ever been in love with. above my lip is a bruise from trying to kiss the stretch marks on my belly. my ear is slightly disfigured from hearing so many stories of pain and being unable to do more than lend this part of my body to them. all of these instances in which I let myself be soft. all of these instances that you made me want to hide because letting yourself get marked up isn’t a sign of strength, or so you said.
I pity you. I pity those that live like you because they walk around with weary smiles and don’t know how to love people. I am naked on this ground and neither of us rose out of my ashes because I’m still here. despite all I’ve endured I am unable to light myself on fire because I’ve been smoldering since the minute I realized that this is not my fault.
there are better houses to make into homes.
they call to me in the night, and I hope that every time you hear the
Caitlin Conlon is an aspiring poet of 19 years old, and she frequently relies on her plants to remind her that she’s still growing. Currently an English Major at the University at Buffalo, she has previously been published via Thought Catalog.