Poems on Letting Go
The gods gave the people words and
did not visit again.
It is this I think of when I watch her
watch you, the way I used to:
flotsam, fires amidst liquid swells,
clinging to old words.
Anything that floats will rise again,
lumps in my throat I thought
I’d already swallowed, thought were rusting
at the bottom currents of my belly.
But here we are again, fresh blood,
I worshipped you, I think,
I do not say. What can I, when there is nothing left
but the truth – maybe this is why we still
cannot look at each other,
because all idolatry has washed away.
We knew this would hurt. We were never gods,
just church robbers, reading each other’s prayers
as if we understood.
Once I was the kind of girl who would have loved you,
but you were never
mine, never meant for resurrection,
I will not dive for you, will not polish you:
sink south, to the depths of me. The sea floor.
See, I never loved you, but I knew you,
right down to the bones
right down to the hull, to the timbers.
We were never gods, because they don’t
regret, because they don’t look back,
even though they know it will hurt.
I wanted to tell you to leave me alone, but you did.
this is the ghost of you, the boy
I cannot let go of, the boy who floats,
who visits silently, as if to say
you are not rid of me,
as if I didn’t
When the water had drowned its way
out of my lungs, trickling down ribs
like tick marks,
I told myself: no more love letters.
I could never keep my own promises;
two days later my metaphors were giving me
relationship advice, four days and
I almost met your eye.
I remember that it hurt to feel.
I did not flush you out in floods,
I wrote about your knuckles
about bicycle spoke shadows that
felt like childish hope to me.
I didn’t want to let you go.
Two months later and the sun
is western now, lengthened shade
sounding more like
move on, child.
The bystanders whispering
just grow up
and my palms open, out of breath,
So this is it, then:
there was a boy here
who left his mark on me,
the way wolves do.
I did not let him come howling home
Do not know if he even tried.
My hands still wish they were full moons -clenched tight, white-knuckled,
they could be.
And it turns out the love letters
were always to me.
with the 3 am and the
and the bicycles and the evening
and the water whispering
and floating on our own
floods, letting the currents
where they will, open palmed
this I know:
It was never about you.
It never will be.
Abigail Judge is a student living in Massachusetts. She mostly writes poetry and prose, but lately has been working on longer short stories. Besides writing, she spends as much time as possible eating figs, hiking, and being inspired by difficult science classes.