hour 3: parallel lines

Parallel lines and parallel lives
We kept our hands to ourselves,
our arms straighten to our sides
straighter than a straightjacket

It was like I was the flame
and you were the fuel,
and if our eyes met the wrong way
you would provoke me
and I would devour you
How fucking cliche.

I should have asked when I had the chance
about the parallel lines you wanted etched into your skin.
How long, how far would they descend?
I ask because maybe the length of your tattoo
will tell me how long I need to wait,
hold my fire,
bite my tongue,
hold my arms to my sides.

How long do I wait before I forgive?
Notice I said how long,
not if,
because truth is,
I want you to come back along
but I am scared that somehow
forgiving you
is giving you
permission
to do it all over again.

And so the question arises,
And I ask myself every time—
What exactly did you do
to me?
I bite my tongue
but it’s like an old bruise,
skin darkened and green
forgotten and unseen
until you cross my path
or I hear your name
and it’s a fist pressing down
and I remember the pain.

I write this poem and I’ve stopped writing on the lines,
the parallel lines
I am spiraling
and none of my questions have answers.

I bought you a ring.
Now I know that parallel lines
don’t happen by accident.

The ring broke.
The parallel lines broke.

Is this a sign?
Or do I wait for the lines
in your skin to lose its youth
fall apart
lines break.

How long will it take
for your skin to give
the tattoo to fall
for my sign to forgive?

Will it take
Saturn’s ring to break
before I trust you
and me?

I used to worry
that you wouldn’t have someone to call
to come flying to your side
when you felt weak.
And I felt selfish.

I bought you a ring.
And it’s broken.

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