The first mistake was falling in love

I must be exhausting to love
because when you don’t call me back
I snap a rubber band against my limp wrists and fall asleep
in the sun-stunned middle ground.
I fall down after you with chapped lips
and invisible gifts
like euphoria and other
extreme things: imaginary diamond rings;
I like to imagine you are touching me
when I’m falling asleep.
My little brother broke his middle finger falling off a skateboard.
On the same day
you stuck my heart in a paper-shredding machine
with bills you hadn’t paid.
I waited patiently at the edge of feeling
and my friends were so tired of hearing
about the fire lit by your imaginary fingers.

I must be exhausting to love
because when days fade to months
I wake up wishing I didn’t know you.
Now my hips are bruised. Now my lips are blue
from holding my breath for so long.
I am a superstitious lover
so when the cake bakes wrong
and the weatherman warns against oncoming storms
or cold fronts
I call you to say we need to breakup.
That’s proactivity –
I’m acting prematurely
so when you decide to hate me I’ll say I hated you first.
I am in a fistfight with my feelings
a skin-tight boxing ring
and you’re the bell dinging above my head.
I wake up wishing I was dead
but what no one ever told me
is that it’s easier to rip your lover limb from limb
than to touch them in the places they ask you to.

I must be exhausting to love
because I put too few eggs in the cake batter.
Now you’re calling me to say it doesn’t matter,
to say you never loved me anyway
and my face makeup is melting.
I am in debt to the oncoming traffic
and you are wondering how you let this happen.