poetry by kelly peacock

letting go

I always thought 

it was about what you said 

just before you let them go. 

I love you and you hurt me. 

I’m sorry I can’t do this. 

Maybe the cup is half empty right now. 

Maybe you don’t miss me, 

though I would like to think you do. 

Sooner or later, things will be different 

and I’ll believe 

you leaving was more than just something I let happen. 

I’ve been told that a thing will go away

once it has served its purpose. 

I wonder if you think about me 

as often as you think about begging for forgiveness. 

this is how you will remember me

We split a bottle of wine

the first night we spent together.

I don't know who I was then,

besides a body of warmth,

a woman

letting herself be touched by a man

with no intention of keeping me close.

I wonder if you remember this.

It was desire,

wanting within reach.

I was someone who filled a void,

who made you feel things you refused to feel.

But I see it clearly, now that you're gone:

I am warmth, a body of want,

a woman to be desired,

with a force stronger than you will ever be.

I am someone who wants to love and be loved,

and this is how you will remember me.


It will hurt at first, like watching glass shatter and picking up the pieces and not knowing where to put them because you don’t want to hurt anyone else. I should tell you how the things you keep close break the easiest, how sometimes things are inevitable, how it will hurt like growing pains. 


Maybe we don’t end up together, 

I think, 

and then you kiss me again. 

You call it unraveling, 

I call it falling apart.

somewhere in between 

You are here,

somewhere in between 

his leaving and your becoming, 

feeling dry, close to empty. 

Imagine the earth cracked by the sun. 

Imagine this as shelter--

an excuse to protect yourself. 

There are hills and valleys 

and you are here, 

somewhere in between.


The ghost is sitting there, 


on the edge of the mattress, 

his body shifting with his eyes, 

his palms closing but close 

to me, my uncoiled fingers, 


He touches me. 

Déjà vu: he loves me—



I emptied myself 

and his hands cupped and waited for me 

to drip like a leaky faucet.


I wish I could make him stay just by asking. 

My voice is not on a loop in his head

like my legs are around his shoulders.

He cannot hear me—

the lust clogs like wax.


To him, I am water 

and he is lapping me up. 

His hands open and ask for more 

and I wonder 

if this is what it means to be wet.


Wiping his bloody nose on the fabric, 

slipping under his sheets,

we are under the covers when he asks me to leave him. 

Lord only knows why his throat burns, 

why the wine turns back to water, 

why the water turns back to wine, 

back to water.

a difference between withering and weathering

His two fingers between my legs felt like matches. 

I still do not know what hurts more: 

him touching me or thinking of him touching me; 

either way, I did not ask for it. He knew this.

I was wrapped around his finger, like snow draping over branches. 

Even though it has been six years 

I still have a hard time breathing in winter; 

the cold air in my throat feels tight, 

like ice packed on concrete, like his arm against my chest. 

I cannot breathe but I am learning how to. 

Is there a difference between withering and weathering? 

I let myself get sucked into the thought of it:

I do not know how to not put my emotions in weather.


When I loved him 

and when he left me, 

the tenderness is the same.

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