The house was falling apart. You know,
shutters dangling, closet door off its tracks,
some wide blinking
brown eyes through the jagged hole
in the middle. Someone kicked it.
Chipping paint making Pangaeas
across the walls. I got lost
peeling it like I would dead,
sunburnt skin on my shoulders.
Leaks from where the roof was flat,
a crack curving down the center
of the porcelain tub we used to
fill with hot water and soak
together in overflowing bubbles
like nothing was
wrong. Once I tried to blame
the hurricanes, but they never came,
only some heavy rain. The wind
had been calm for a long time. Some nights
were empty, not just the
empty bottles around, beer,
some rum. Part of an old poem was taped
to the fridge. It said
the physical things come first
before you ripped it down. I learned
about the difference between love
and attachment from a book first
and then from you. If I could only
for kicking the closet door
that time you tried to
kick my dog,
for that time you kicked my dog.
Then she started hiding in the closet
every time you
raised your voice.
You even kicked
the two baby lime trees
which I bought just before you moved in
and perched with sticks
until they were strong
enough to hold themselves up.
You never kicked me,
because as much as it might seem
like I mentioned the lime trees to serve
as a metaphor for me,
I left the day you threw
a glass jar of coconut oil at my face,
which was only a day after you started
all the kicking.
I can’t say I didn’t
cry a lot, or that it wasn’t excruciating
to walk away and so fast.
I did, and it was.
But the way memory works
is not so easy.
I still remember how you’d
hold me in your metal arms
like a magnet.