To break the inevitable fall
of tears against tin roof cheeks
I am practicing the art of
; wearing her
heavy shawls on raw shoulders,
getting accustomed to the sting.

In cafes, I order a slice of
chocolate cake, sit myself in
front of it. We stare at each
other awkwardly until I leave,
not a single crumb out of place

Painstakingly do I curl my hair,
paint my lips, ink my eyelids with
the precision of an alcoholic's
passive-aggressive sneer. I buy
new clothes that curl around my
body like a cat, and, when I am
finally beautiful,
retire to bed.

I buy a bottle of merlot,
drink a single glass. Read books
until the last five pages and
set them down. Draw a hot bath,
set candles alight, and shiver into
the porcelain four hours too late.

I masturbate in raucous abandon,
stop before the reverberations
begin their torrid clench on my resolve.
This is how I love.

One hand on the door,
the other holding fast to a safety chord.

One eye on the prize,
the other glued to petty horizons;
and the full sense of being
only half awake.