Beside Myself: poetry by Ali Fenlon

So this is the damage,
you begged me, please just talk.
It was true when I said, breathing—
it only makes me weaker. And beside you, I’m

beside myself,
saying just go no don’t. That’s when I begin to shudder, hear a shoulder,
turning away from me,
and I know I just know you’ve turned and walked out.

Even in my dreams it’s hard to trust you, to trust you won’t laugh, or to know
that you’ll stay. I can’t separate what’s incomplete from the
respect you once quote had for me.

So this separation brings me nearer to sedation, and
what I repeat to the mirror is practice
in wasted anticipation—
show him you’re coy, show the broken hearted boy, show
him some smile, say it’s just I’m real shy.

Eventually I’ll find myself in a daytime dream of the both of us,
but this time I’m there, I’m viewing it outside myself.

Beside you, I turn and smile, and
I’m cradling your face. You lean
back in, run your fingers through
my hair. Remind me
just to breathe, just to speak,
just to continue being there.

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