1. I wasn’t in love with you anymore, but god, this knocked the wind out of me.
2. You were just here.
3. You were just here.
4. Do you remember? The frozen food pressed to your shoulder, the way you shook with the knowledge of a barely avoided death?
5. My mouth. Yours.
6. I had been struggling with my old poems about you. You know, you were the first one I ever wrote. I had some questions for you, Cleveland. I suppose I don’t have them anymore.
7. It isn’t even seeing you kiss her that’s the problem. It’s that you share a table.
8. Maybe “wife” bothers me, too. I know how that word sounds, coming from you. Remember? Those long drives? Perhaps I still exist as your heart when you hit the road.
9. You still exist as mine when I hit the words.
10. I couldn’t read them aloud anymore, the poems. That old pain. It didn’t exist. We had chased it away with chocolate and cherries. Still, you occupy a shelf in the bright. In the cold .
11. You always have been impossibly careless with my heart. With my new lives, all of them.
12. There’s a Smiths song – if you were reading my texts I would send you it – it goes: and I’m not happy / and I’m not sad. I’m not sad, seeing you happy. She looks as full of light as I used to when you kissed me. I am glad for her. I know what you have to give.
13. It’s the loss of our friendship. More a removal. A reopened scar, from the last time. Remember, how we were friends? We’ve been so good at it. I can’t believe you won’t hear from me now. I couldn’t believe you wouldn’t hear from me, then. You know the words.
14. I just wanted to wish you well. I just. I just wanted to be what I always have been. Yours, in whatever form we decide.
15. Nearly two years since we met and you still find new ways to let me down. I think it impresses me more than it wounds.
16. You told me all about her, remember? We discovered we had both loved ghosts, since the last time you cried on my couch. Do you remember? The things that we allow to haunt us take root in the end. I need to change my sheets.
17. I wonder if I am the ghost now. The woman you never had the courage to keep. Do I haunt you, darling? I can hear your voice saying yes. Feel the reach of your arms as I spin out of them, laughing. Do I echo?
18. You kissed me like you used to, the last time. You will again, the next. You always do.
19. In a poem I never got the chance to read you, I said that you exist suspended in time. In flashes of white sheets. Bathed in orange light on the Golden Gate Bridge. Spinning me around on a cold February evening. One year ago today.
20. One year ago today, you laid next to me. We cried about something that doesn’t matter anymore. It didn’t matter then, either.
21. Do you remember the words? Of that last song at what we thought was the last breakfast. You sat me on your knee.
22. Your hands shook as you held me tight. I put my lips to your ear. Do you remember? The words. Say them with me.
23. In my own sick way / I’ll always stay true to you.
— Upon Seeing Your New Girlfriend For The First Time. Charlotte Ford.