the sting

he says
he still loves me, that
it’s not his choice nor his will
to stay away, that he
hopes against hope
that I’ll still be there
when he finishes
fighting in this war
of attrition against an implacable –
yet on paper, unimpeachable – foe.

he’s so sorry
about how things went down.
he doesn’t blame me
for being pissed. he didn’t know;
things were different
than he thought, he
misled me only because
he was himself misled,
and he was blindsided
by how much she was blindsided
because to him the rot
was obvious, their tree
was dying, if not
already dead, dry and shivering
in the corner of the lonely
living room.

he calls on my heart
to answer to his feelings.
I try to wring my
blood from this stone,
but all I feel is a bone-deep, weary
sadness. there’s no truly
happy ending here, there’s no way
that someone won’t
end up hurt and alone,
quite possibly
all of us.

I should be comforted
by the fact that
it’s not that I’m being
tossed away. I’m just being put
on a shelf, to save for later,
like a doll that’s too good
for everyday use, like a treasured love
letter, like a wartime ration
of stockings. but therein lies
the sting.

I can’t be his war widow;
I won’t. I won’t be that girl
who waits and waits
for an outcome with
no certainty and no eternal
reward. it’s not fair to ask me
to, and he knows it. but his
eyes ask, and his heart is
in them, and mine doesn’t want
to answer.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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