The Build Up

In the days after you were gone
I collected bar stamps
on my inner wrists and hands.
I let the door men question
how long’d been since my last shower
with a smile, the scent of our embrace
buried beneath layers of ink;
to think the process cathartic,
letting those bruises rise to the surface
with an artificial substance, solace
in ginger ale fizz and your smudging
like sage, until my touch leaves prints
where I rest the glass.

I dragged a bar of rose soap, side to side,
like an over-sized pencil eraser
pressing into my skin, letting
what’s left of you run thin.
Like a drawing erasing its own lines
I realized, the artist
doesn’t always know what shape comes next.
These little mistakes belong to the process
of a sketch in progress, my clenched fists
around your presence here,
is no healthier than trying to drink
the black and blue circling the drain.

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