I enter the cold apartment,
your slightly older lover
answering the door high
as the Mill Mountain Star.
He leads me down a narrow hall,
rust-colored mold creeping
up and down the drywall
like the stalagmites and stalactites
that took your breath as a child.
He apologizes for the late call,
bringing me to the pieces of
my princess in a porcelain coffin.
The linoleum crackles as I approach
the purple skeleton of my memory.
It was warmer outside, dead
winter in flakes and your breaths
barely register about the dingy bra–
how your hand finds life,
rising and reaching and finding only
the panic of a new design:
A father withdrawing to the warmth
of a broken sink as it gives way
to the mirrored glass below.
I hear you say you love me,
then the silence of your arm
lowering over the side of the tub–
fingers last to recoil as we
hold in our goodbyes one more time.