Days after we had decided
it was best to be apart,

after we divided our possesions,
and agreed that you would be the one

to move out, we stood silent
in the bedroom, listening

to the argument next door,
the young woman screaming something

about him not loving her
enough. Their voices resonated

as if there was no wall that separated us
from them, the shrill desperation

of her voice so pierced my chest
that I almost felt as if I were the one

fighting for his love. When the air went
quiet, and it seemed that we were back

to being alone together, you tiptoed to the wall
and pressed your ear against the thin wood.

I scolded you for for doing wrong,
but soon I was beside you, listening

to the sounds of their love,
muffled, as if trying to keep from us

the key to making up, as if they knew
just how many keys we had lost already.

love sucks poetry contest 2001