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January 2017

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So there are versions of this. I wonder if there are more. I guess I should check his website.

When she gives up on you,

ask a friend to hide all the knives not because
you will attempt suicide—you know
too much to kill yourself—but because
you will carve her name into all of the food
in your refrigerator. Draw her
in your family photos. You cannot draw,
so you will draw stick figures into all of your
family photos. Your dinner plates
will smell like her so you will not eat
and this will make your friends believe
you are anorexic. You will wonder
if maybe that would have made her stay.
Four times you will start to burn her
just-in-case clothes that are still
in your dresser. Sew a quilt
from those clothes, the ones
she abandoned to awkwardness. You will sleep
under the quilt only when it is above
eighty-five degrees and it will
make you sweat like her legs
thrown over your waking body.
Open the windows because she would have
wanted them closed. Turn off the radio;
she cannot sleep without noise. You cannot sleep
without noise, but noise
will sound like her whispering you into the world
of lights and breakfast. Make the rain
sound like nothing. Make the rain
sound nothing like her voice. Stop scratching:
relief will remind you of her. You will stop washing
your sheets because Saturday
was laundry day. When it is dark
it is easier to remember her so you will not
pay your power bill. Sit there
in the empty and tell yourself
in second person what you know
is going to happen.

~ Neil Hilborn

When your fourth love leaves you, you will want to kill yourself
but you won’t because you no longer think of suicide as a house
you will build one day. Your fourth love, your first real love,
who brought you peace when your whole body was a gun, when she leaves
you, stop showering. Warmth and relief will remind you of her. Masturbate
in public. Hope someone catches you just so you can
feel exposed in front of anyone else. At night, open all your windows:
the hum of the city will sound like her in the next room. When
it’s dark, it is easier to remember her, so don’t
pay your power bill. Sit there in the empty
and lie to yourself. Tell yourself it’s better.
It’s better that she’s gone.

~ Neil Hilborn


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