First Date

Sitting in your car by the ocean
You were so nervous
And you burnt your mouth on peppermint tea in an attempt to be smooth.
We laughed till we cried and I couldn’t remember
The last time I had felt so at ease.

I couldn’t stop my gaze from resting
On your beautifully imperfect incisors
Framed by rotund lips of velvet, I yearned to feel
Your breath on my cheek.

Your abrupt departure shook me
Until your clarifying text
“I’m getting sick – that’s why I left.
I would like to see you again.”

And when I woke the next day to see
The rose you picked, sitting on my dresser
I couldn’t help but smile.

© T. Kalau 2013

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Six Years On

It’s been six years since I packed my things.
I promised to keep in touch
I swore I loved you
Told you I just needed a little space to remind myself
How good you were to me
And that once I had sorted out my shit
We’d be a family again.

Of all the lies I’ve ever told
That one stuck in my throat the hardest.
I knew I wasn’t coming back, and I think you knew it, too.
But you let me walk out without resistance
(which, knowing you, was remarkable)

I kept up the guise of working through our issues
Until I got a lawyer
And you finally figured out that I wasn’t coming back.
I’ve never been so scared.
The drive-bys, the phone calls, the thinly-veiled threats
Were almost worse than the bruises
At least, they were a lot less predictable.

Everyone seemed to think that since I was “free”
Everything was suddenly alright
My moral support vanished
I spent my nights alone, missing you
Though I knew I shouldn’t
And wishing it could have been some other way.

Looking back, I almost don’t recognise
The frightened young woman
Jumping at her own shadow and
Spooked at the smallest sound.

Six years have helped me ease some fears
Though the terror of losing our daughter remains
Threats etched in my memory are not easily erased.
But now
I don’t look over my shoulder constantly
Though I do still keep my doors locked
And I moved every three years so you couldn’t find me.
One day I hope to stop running
Settle down and really build my life
I’m putting down some roots and starting to blossom

But then a cold wind blows and I’m reminded
Of your chilly demeanour and soulless eyes
And no matter how much wood I put on the fire
I just can’t warm my bones.

© T. Kalau 2013

R.W.K.

I began forgetting you slowly.

At first, it was tiny memories
That fell by the wayside:
The sound of you closing the bedroom door
Your bare feet padding across the lineoleum
The whispered “good night” as you wrapped yourself around me
And drifted into oblivion.

Next, I forgot how you looked in the morning,
Tousled hair and sleepy eyes,
That sexy, half-awake voice
And, yes, even your morning breath
(Which, truthfully, I was happy to not recall)

After the first few faded memories, forgetting picked up speed.

I forgot your favourite football team (Lions?)
And your favourite milkshake (strawberry? definitely strawberry)
I forgot the way you’d say my name
And the crinkle by your eyes when you really laughed.

I forgot the feeling of your arms around me
And the tickle of your breath against my cheek.
I forgot the butterflies you gave me
And the million sweet words
And the seventy-five unpleasant ones
(Because we did fight once or twice)

Slowly, you faded
Then all at once you were gone.

Now, although I know your eyes are blue,
I cannot recall their depth.
Though I know your lips are soft,
I have forgotten their touch.

And although I know I loved you
I cannot remember how
or when
or why.

© T. Kalau 2013