the stench is so familiar it hurts, the smoke and
the sex and the cat and your mouth. we fall
too easily back into the past, legs locked, eyes
open, breath stuck,

but

we have to remember why we're here. why our hands
haven't touched in three hundred-
thirty six hours and why i'm self conscious of my skin
and why all this time

we

have been lying. the way we fold into sleep isn't an accident,
and that slope in your shoulder where my
chin rests when we dance, that's there for a reason. but we're
content, aren't we?

both

of us smiling the smiles that make the other melt. i can't
say i haven't missed the rush, the ugly hands
that strum my nervous system and lullaby me to stupidity.
i can't say much of anything, you

know,

because this is all a little bit wrong. yes, in our five years
we've memorized the maps of spines and tiptoed
into addiction to the others' tongue. yes, we've established
the rotten buttons and the tearjerkers, but

this

time we feel it's different. like last time. and the time
before. some imaginary thread, dwindling on its last
rotation, refuses to let us part for too long. "m"s and "n"s
can try their best, but there

is

something stronger here, something cruel and invisible
and real. we used to joke, but that was before you were down
on one knee, clasping my hand, eyes the biggest i've seen them.
we quoted mickey. we believed in

fate.


to anyone who said i could get over this: i'm collecting my winnings.