Product of Neglect

by Alix St. Pierre
(Toronto, Canada)

Lying here next to you, all I can think is that I can't wait for you to leave. I press myself against the warmth of your back and lay a gentle kiss on the nape of your neck. Muddied memories of the shelter you will imprison yourself in brings a confused smile to my lips. This is what happens when you have nothing to fall back on.

I was walking ahead of you, and the walls of the city felt much too close. I danced out from under your wandering hands and my rage melted the written shouts of the pubs and taverns that lined the street. Nimble-fingered strangers hurried behind us, trying to bring order to the chaos that I left in our wake. With you gone, I can think again. I watch you sleep, curled in my linens for the last time. I know that with you gone, my mind will be my own again.

Are you afraid of me? Twisted around myself, face pressed between my knees. You touch me gently, but my bruises scream just the same. This room is too small for you and for I and this city is loud enough without you whispering into my ears.

Product of neglect. I cannot predict what will become of you once you've exhausted the path that you've unearthed. There is a silence that you have planted within me. This silence is louder than you can ever be. It grows, and spreads through my veins with its ivy branches. Poison.

Everything you touch burns.

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