Tell me all of the ways you’re sorry.
I’ll tell you how I’m not sorry for all the ways you’ll find me long after I leave.
You made this bed and I am the reason she will be scared to look underneath when it’s time to go to sleep.
She will not see me in the light but she will feel me in the dark and I’m not sure which one is worse.
You will kiss her with eyes open to avoid calling her my name.
You will reach for my cheek and pretend you are not disappointed when it’s her skin you touch.
You have never been good at pretending.
She swears she sees my name in all of your tattoos but is too afraid to ask.
She should be.
She will be jealous of the way you can’t say my name without whispering.
She will hear it so many times it will carve itself into her heart.
That’s where the guilt will live.
She will never make maps out of your scars and constellations out of your freckles and she will know in her heart that her lips were just a bandaid you used to hold in all the words you were too afraid to speak.
She will not ask why you leave the front porch light on even after she leaves.
She will not ask why you had to change the song on the radio. Again.
She will not ask why you avoid mirrors; her reason is the same.
Sometimes your ribs will whistle in the middle of the night and she will plug her ears so she doesn’t have to wake up from this dream.
She will make up stories to show the world that none of this was her fault.
She might even tell them so many times she starts to believe them.
She learned that from you.
She will see me in her passenger seat whenever she drives you home.
She will remember that I was kind.
Seeing you sitting where I once was will remind her that she isn’t.
The silence will start speaking truths that neither of you want to hear.
That is where the doubt will grow.
She will still laugh at all of your jokes.
You will learn to hate her laugh.
You will tell her that she’s different but she will know that her body was nothing more than a stepping stone
you will leave her
to find ghosts of me
in every other girl you meet.