when i was young i discovered how to not fall asleep. don't lie down. you never learned this lesson; you are asleep now beside me and your jaw is relaxed, unclenched, that face in beautiful repose against this worn-out futon. and i am always awake beside you, tracing the bones in your hands, wondering how i can dismantle you in pieces. waiting for the backlash that never comes.
and i tell you a bedtime story while you sleep.
the one about the dimly lit house party, cheap rum mixed with off-brand cola in grimy plastic cups worn slick with sweaty hands, a collision of cigarette butts and confused bodies, coaxing little blue ovals into my palm, a man's voice in my ear and his hands on my waist in the upstairs guest bathroom, his tongue in my mouth- probing, hungry, then his cock in my mouth- frantic, urgent, then your name in my mouth, head swimming, vision blurring, as my hips matched his in a rushed and graceless tempo, drumming a miserable beat across cold, relentless tiles while your messages lit up my phone during every gasping breath.
these are the words that undo us and you are not awake to hear them. they pour out of me in toxic relief, and i have honed each syllable to hurt. you stay asleep, curled up beside me, one hand clasped between mine. defenseless, dependent, alone. and so i tell you the next story. and another one. then several more in unrestrained succession, these things i have done, these things i will do, these things that will wound you with every waking breath-
- these things that spill out, a tapped vein welling to the surface.