It was on
a saffron sunset lavished shore
where you first caught me
scavenging for conch shells.
You held one to my ear,
with all the seriousness
you could muster
then whispered,
like the ocean in the other:
“I promise to endow you
with all the knowledge
of cameo making,
if you say yes.”
I first wondered
what you were on,
if you had any left.
You became my escape,
and I yours.

But five years, eight months,
two weeks and counting
erodes me,
deeper than streams
do mountains,
or rejection
do hearts.
You left me
at the port of your
“good intentions;”
building sandcastles
long abandoned,
filling the canyon
of me
with rivers of hope
long parched,
watching remnants of you
drift away with the tides,
trying to settle our children
in a sea of shallow wishes
as I bury the corpse
of our dreams
in the coffin
of our future.
You left me
trying to find beauty
in the way the ocean
relentlessly kisses the shore
despite being pulled away.

Because your eyes
would’ve asked,
then watched me
disintegrate to tears;
because your arms
were supposed to catch me;
because resurrecting
the dregs of myself
was impossible.

Because forever
is too short of a time
to purge my conscience;
it was easier
to point
than be blamed;
because I still carry
the burden
of your last name.

Because the pain
still feels better
than morphine;
the acidic farewells
in my veins
were more bearable
than missing you;
because your children
still ask
if you’re ever coming home
every –

Because I still don’t know
the art of cameo making,
my heart is no less fragile
than these shells,
because I sometimes
carve deep
searching for your secrets
in relief…

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