I am not now, never have been, and never will be a poet.
This is a fact I repeat with stubborn pride whenever my sister challenges the claim with evidence that somehow, some way my prose has a breath of poetry in it.
I’m not a poet. I have no rhythm, little skill with rhyme, no head for any imagery outside of the literal, the tangible, those things that I can get my hands around and crush to my chest out of a desperate need to slow the inevitable decline into entropy and heat death that every atom in the universe will somewhen face.
I am not a poet.
I am however a list-maker. It’s a consequence of that same need for an illusion of control.
Lately, I’ve been enumerating all those things of yours I kept, those I left for you to remember me by.
Love makes us do stupid things.
- Five (5) pairs of ankle socks in pink, orange, yellow, teal, and violet
- One (1) pair of thick winter tights in the shade “nude”
- Seventeen (17) selfies you sent me on Snapchat that were extreme close ups of your eyes, shoulders, elbows, mouth
- Twelve (12) pictures of us together
- Innumerable black hairs from your cat’s love of my drawer full of skirts
- Your love of high-waisted, floral print panties that I never appreciated until I saw you in them
- The softness of your hair as it grew back from the buzzcut
- The curve of your waist into your hips that you couldn’t hide no matter how many layers you wore. I could spot your silhouette from four blocks away in the dark
- The memory of a thousand kisses
- My sense of adventure
- The letters you wrote me
- My bed, because we slept there, watched too many hours of netflix, ate waffles and pretended the world outside didn’t exist. My bed where I sat when you stood above me, pacing and raving about how you could no longer stand my presence because I did not make enough money to live with or support you.
- One (1) check, prorated for only 11 days’ rent out of spite
I tell myself that if I never see you again it will be too soon. I’ve destroyed all the pictures and this summer I promise myself I will burn your socks.
I doubt I’ll ever get rid of the one thing I wanted to give to you more desperately than I wanted to flee the inevitable, slow death of the universe, though. Between the refractions of the opal and the overtones of the gold it looks and sounds too beautiful to give up even if every second wearing it I think how lovely it might have looked on your hand. My great-grandmother had the best taste in rings.