Tonight I can smell her on you like a talisman,
a nametag, a grave marker. I wonder if she kissed
your birthmark, the dark red splotch hidden on
your inner thigh like a sunrise that jumped forty feet
from an apartment building just to splatter
into nothingness on the pavement below. I wonder
if she had to look hard to find it, and if you had to guide
her, until she touched it with her tongue.
When my mother’s now-ex-boyfriend left her in college,
she drank three cups of coffee every day-
morning, noon, and night, for every day that he left her
until the day he came back to her again.
For her, caffeine was a coping mechanism.
A rubber band snapped against a wrist,
a late night car drive at 100 miles per hour
just to feel something akin to losing control.
But tonight I remember the newspaper story I read
two years ago, about the young girl whose parents
thought she was pregnant, until they found out
a tiny octopus was growing inside her stomach.
And I realize that no matter how hard I love you,
like a pile driver shoved into my ribs at full throttle,
strength lies in burying certain feelings deep inside,
so deep no one can find them for years,
just like the octopus that made headlines.