I knew my mistakes when they were emblazoned
across my chest, a red poker hot dress
you bought for me when I forgot your tea
or to arrange the flowers perfectly.
I knew my mistakes when both hello
and goodbye were pursed lips,
a cold shoulder in the sheets,
a clarion call of silence.
I knew my mistakes when you shared them
with our friends, your mother and mine,
a verbatim list of why you didn’t have the time
to raise me an angel following in your wake.
I knew my mistakes when pity
felt more like love than kissing you
goodnight, lying in wait for you to finish
me – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I knew my mistakes when I said I was leaving
and opened the door for you,
letting the useless escape from my bones
to join you with your suitcase down the road.
(Photo: Vivian Maier)
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