three weeks too late

Bushrangers Bay, Australia

you can’t take away

the embrace

in the bathroom of the Brusnwick apartment

when you held me

we were wordless

but never had I understood so clearly

and it is that language of touch

I should’ve listened to

for the louder discourse

took refuge in my mind

all that noise, overriding ethereal communication

the harsh tone telling me I wasn’t good enough

I should’ve listened to

your heartbeat syncopated with your breaths

as you whispered, “no, your hair’s better”

doubt is an ugly thing

but even uglier is the knowledge that I let it run me

fill my crevices, marr my desires

until what was burning so purely

simmered down into a pathetic trickle

of disappointment

I should’ve listened to

the songs you played me through the aux cord of the white uber

“don’t judge me, it’s a good song,” you said and I laughed

the lyrics were too good to be true

too commercialised and polished for it to be my reality

even though I so badly wanted to believe them

the conditional tense is sometimes worse than the past

“I should’ve jumped” rather than “I jumped and I slipped”

and I remind myself

it’s the regret of chances I didn’t take

that corrode my psyche

more than the regret of having mistaken

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