I let myself bleed and
over upturned lips,
but you loved me anyway.
with a fist and a curse word,
taking no tenderness with this tear,
paying no attention to fresh stitches.
You murked in my puddles
as if you were used to the rain.
As if it was nothing new to wipe
fresh red from blue vein.
You didn’t let me sleep.
You were up before dawn
trying me on like a new shirt,
seeing how I stretched around you.
Thin skin over muscle and bone.
How pretty this human suit looks
when it is crumbled on the floor,
never given a moment to bend
into my own shape,
easier to just twist around you in the dark.
On the third day
you left me for dead,
dragged my body to your favorite roadside diner
propped me up in a shallow booth,
adjusted my arms and face
as though they still beat blood
paid for runny eggs and burnt toast.
These sleeves were just long enough
to cover the bruises on my wrists,
this hair just straight enough
to hide the bags under my eyes.
You took a moment to smooth my lipstick,
with a tender thumb.
“On the Third Day” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014) by Swimming with Elephants Publications and The Legendary Issue 39.