I spent two years trying to save you,
but you kept pushing me down into this nightmare.
I’ll probably always cringe at the hiss of beer cans cracking open
and the ring of a beer bottle cap rolling across the Formica countertop.
I played hide and seek with your addiction,
pouring the captured contents down the kitchen sink.
You tell me you drink because you’re depressed.
But in truth, you drink for every fleeting emotion.
You drink to drown the demons of your past, to drown
the scared little boy who had survived
yet another beating from his drunken father.
I’ve wrestled knives from you, slicing my own hands in attempt
to keep you from silencing your sorrows.
I’ve struggled free from your bruising grasp as you choke me
up against a wall, threatening to kill me—“It would be so easy.”
The next day, you’d apologize—you’d beg for forgiveness.
And I, blinded by love and compassion, forgave you.
Over and over, this carousel of catastrophe persisted.
I want off I want off I want off.
I couldn’t keep count of your collection of bruises and scars from
crashing into furniture as you drunkenly stumbled to the couch.
You called them your “battle wounds,” and came up with elaborate
stories about their conception.
I came home one summer day to
blaring sirens and red and white
flashing lights in the parking lot.
My breath caught, and my heart sank.
I knew it was you.
As I climbed the stairs to my apartment,
you lay sprawled across the concrete,
a blood-soaked forehead staining your tangled blonde hair.
Your blue eyes blinking wildly, the neck brace
Immobilizing your view.
The blood stain still lingers in the breezeway.
We cried together as you packed your belongings.
I could barely look into those broken bright blue eyes
that had once won me over.
Sobbing, I told you that I wasn’t leaving you because
I didn’t love you anymore; I was leaving because
the addiction was killing me too.