Not during the electric summer, with its ocean
of bourbon and snow venom, a no good paradise
blooming beneath heart-shaped clouds you said
were just clouds. Not when I mistook ransom
for romance in the only love poem you ever wrote me.
Not when you swore the anthem of police sirens
were cursing another fool's name and not your brilliant one,
not this time. Not the French perfume plucked
from a clearance bin, the nicest gesture you made
all your girls so we could never tell the difference.
Not when you held my wrist like the diamond
you paid for with cash, how despite days of eating
only artificial sweeteners dissolved in water,
it squeezed my ring finger until blue in the face.
Not even when the pawn shop owner said I remember,
when I offered him my steady hand.
Kayla Wheeler's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in LEVELER, The Bohemyth, Potluck, and the print anthologies We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody Publishing), and Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart (FreezeRay Press). She is a two-time NorthBEAST Underground Team Slam Champion & New Hampshire native. Follow @KaylaSlashHope & kaylahwheeler.tumblr.com