Nothing about “us” was normal.
Even our first kiss was a challenge,
you daring me to put my lips to yours
in the quiet behind the curtains
just before we went onstage.
Don’t tempt me, I’ll do it.
It was you and her and me,
bound with this inexplicable tie
that both restricted and empowered.
We were one, we were three,
and we could take on the world.
And that night your lips were on my neck
while her tongue was in my mouth
and that was the beginning of nothing being the same
and my world started to spiral.
There were hands all over
and whenever I ended up in your lap
you told me it was your favorite moment of the day.
You told me whenever we were alone,
just you and I without her,
that I made you shake harder than she did.
I took pride in that, that I might be your favorite.
I didn’t know that it would nearly end me.
I remember the silver Celtic knots you handed me
to remind me of places you’d disappeared to
and all the things you were willing to steal for me.
I wore them and pretended they were gifts;
they lasted longer than the marks on my neck.
From you, from her, from the nights
we were too drunk to remember which.
Your art was shades of grey,
smeared images of bones and blood.
There were broken wings and stained feathers,
and animals strung up by their necks.
I always wondered if you were confessing something in the ink.
When you got into the passenger seat,
there was blood underneath your fingernails.
Maybe you’d killed something
or maybe you’d hurt yourself and wouldn’t say.
Your thoughts were buried in the shadows beneath your eyes,
and I was afraid to ask what you’d done.
You passed it off as scarlet paint and I let you lie to me.
She believed you and I didn’t; who’s the favorite now?
You knew I could tell you were lying, and it made no difference.
You didn’t want to explain, and you knew I wouldn’t make you.
It’s why you chose me, I think.
I wish every day that you hadn’t.