the flowers grew by the tree
until the tree died of bark-stung cancer,

earned from years of
smoking cigarettes but not having one

at a party where you could blend in as long as
you had a red paper cup in your hand. her

nails were chipped, like she bit them all the time
because she had anxiety from sleepless nights

with you in her bed. you'd roll onto your side and tell her
something about how you loved her, or liked her, or

that she was just okay, and you were okay, too
because everything is easier to ignore when you

deny it.