i peeled the paint away because
it terrified me. and at the center
of quiet when every moving thing
is still and silent you can hear
the secret alarms consuming your head-
space like the wind chimes of dying.
like wallpaper, an adhesive for your limbs;
you wear thoughts like a floral coat
so the ugly can camouflage with
the petals of hopefulness you have
long discarded as understatements and falsities.
you left a handful of paint swatches
on the kitchen table. you had been collecting
them from every place you've lived in:
the washington sky an airy grey
soaking my fingers through, massachusetts
like the color of your eyes where they meet
your pupils, except straighter at the shoulders,
and paris the glossy red that stained your shirt sleeve
when you thought you would never leave her.
i think we could be more dramatic
in here, am i right? dropping them on the table
and turning to leave, always leaving.
so i've become colorblind in your grasp,
and can't differentiate between stop and go
at traffic lights when we're alone
and speeding down the highway like the faster
we leave this place, the easier it would be to start over.
but you never change,
and i'm everything you make me.
some days it's like you crafted the love
from the plaster smeared across my face
that crumbles into my tangled hair. make sure you're not here
when it dries. unless you want me after you
striking up fires in permanent emotion.
and like the forests you ignited during early dawn,
i shrivel into layers of who i thought
i could be for you,
and all the things you taught me;
how to breathe when you choke me
and how to speak when you thief my words.