we left with our hands in separate pockets
and separate plans about
how to get this done.
I left Colorado;
Boulder, a place where I found

I left a studio apartment with no utility bill
and an on-site washer and dryer,
foothills with no rain and 0% humidity.
I left sun 300 days a year.
I left my rose blanket that smelled like my parent’s room,
a bunch of empty Tupperware, my umbrella,
   even though it rains so much here?
half of my books
including the one (about trust) stuck
on the tip of my tongue.
I left my ideals about partnership,
first women I loved,
and you left me with this
townhouse in Kensington to fill
with borrowed stuff.

you left an echo that scratched marks in the walls, no
budget for paint, one half of the utensils, a couple of
wicker baskets for bills and no end table to
set them on.
you left me a card with a dinosaur on it that said “Hey Grandson” with ink
prints from the kitten that you thought
would be cute.
I just want to make sure, Sarah,
you gesture to the antique armoire I mistook for a gift
that when I leave
when on our first anniversary, you
walked in my room to talk and
I mistakenly
I get all of this back.
looked you in the mouth and

you took the bigger bottle of toothpaste,
in my opinion, an excessive amount of chairs,
all the curtains, the area rugs, and the glare
I got so used to seeing you wear
around here.   and the kitten.
you took the lighters.
you left the armoire.
you left me rummaging through half-burnt incense sticks for a smell
that got me through the flood and you
took it all back: every last card.
you took my waist one breathy night and said you were going to
squeeze me in this bad neighborhood
right before you took me out of that soft spot, tempered,
grabbed a litter box and took
clean off.

I took myself to the welfare office to beg for my Access card
back,  smacked my lips the wrong way
and snacked on servility inch by inch as I inched my way
back to my grace.
I took out some loans,
threw away the clunky pepper spray
that women wraithed into chains
as if fear has ever kept me safe.
I took my time walking home and
let the water fill my eyelids so I could see
Philadelphia from a different way:
better and blurred and I understand
I took it in the chest that day.
I take it in the neck today.
I took one more risk and someone told me failure is perspective
but all I see are plastic baggies and cops pinching girls with latex gloves
and a half empty apartment that is down to one cat and one girl and
not enough pots to cook both soup and stew,
a makeshift leaky cardboard box trashcan,
a mildewy smell that never leaves the basement,
our first CD scratched and in half in a basket
with someone else’s paychecks,
a bed that lifts with one giant sigh and no top sheet and
(they said risk meant courage)




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