On Being An Asshole to Ghosts

For Patrick

It is never the house, he says.

It is never the girl playing piano alone
whose chords waltz your bloodcells
through moonlit veins
with footsteps she composed
exclusively for you

It is never the man with that smile
as crooked as his intentions,
the hands you blame because
the shapes of the bones
were laid too bare to be trustworthy

you set traps for them
in piles of their own bodies
after they trusted you to care for them
they found you creeping around in their breath
with your shaky chest
and they disarmed you
(thank god)

you wrapped razor wire around walls
they built to make you feel safe
and they dulled it
they came to you holding accidents up
by the sleeves begging for an explanation
and you just kept going
you, screaming that they open their shirts
just to hurt you
holding your bandages like a family heirloom
and calling every metaphor a liar

and that man babbling like a broken faucet
leaking whiskey and skullwater
all over your water-damaged skin
that girl who hemmed-up and bile-colored
learned how to haunt by your example

they can hear every mean word
tucked between your cheek and your stare

and it hurts them


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