the black truck blaring
their hard core rock music
stopped at the red light
was what brought my
attention to that corner.
I saw you walking, smiling
with the sun out, deep into
one of your elongated,
animated stories that used
to always make me laugh.
I knew you wouldn’t want to
see me, so I pretended
not to notice you as well.
You seemed content. If only
we could all be so lucky.

I couldn’t even sleep that night
after days of tossing and turning,
hours spent fighting off fatigue
with choking on tears and dry heaves;
it was almost too easy, almost surreal
that just as flippantly as you had left,
you were back to us – back to home.
I dared not close my eyes for fear
of the devastating cruelty of a dream,
a false depiction of the unattainable.

Write a poem about her
painting between the lines and ink stains,
a collection of colors that personify
her giggles and eye rolls –
a myriad of brush strokes
in shades of blues, reds, and blacks.

With only three lightning strikes
to call it a thunderstorm,
she blew open the doors,
whipping heart ache and debris
leaving the wreckage all for me.

Seventeen darkened months,
being told I wasn’t worth a damn,
of being beaten and broken
on the edges of the woods –
lighting fires after fires,
spitting flames among the fallen.
I was the peacekeeper;
calling for water to get to ashes,
not to hold me still as I drown.
Still, Phoenix, is my name.