Neil Slevin, Falling Apart

The Storm

We sheltered from the rain
beneath the diving board,
while teenagers watched us
become them, their smiles
knew before we did.

I stood between us
and the wind, moved you
from their stares, then saw
the way you looked at me,
as if you’d never look away.

We retreated, hid for hours
in a crowded room, let
our bodies say what we
couldn’t let ourselves mean
with their every breath and pulse.

My mind kissed every inch
of you, its fingers traced,
parted your lips, hands
lost themselves in your hair.
The storm raged, us its eye.


You see the scars first.
Stretched white
they gleam like stars

whose light
illuminates the blade,
spells out the letters

etched into your skin
of the name who said
they’d never cut you out.

Instead, you cut
each other into ribbons,
into pieces, two,

into fragments of the pair
you came together as
(lesser, yes, but whole);

into the cut and shuts
you left each other as,
bodies minus soul.

Held by Memory

During our staring contest
with the sky,
I didn’t need
to hold you close.

We, you and I,
were together
and the sun
watched us lovingly

from its ocean
of azure blue,
its hue as golden
as this memory’s.

I didn’t want or
need to hold you,
our moment was
perfect in itself,

but now
I wish I had
so the memory
could hold me.


I knew you by your step,
your skin, pale porcelain,
the soft incline
of your head

as I watched your life
without me in it,
you walking a street
we often tread.

I turned before
your eyes met mine;
chased by what
could have been, I fled.

I Know You

I’d know you anywhere,
the way I knew you
by the way you

held yourself, your hair
fire in the sunlight
of the bay.

I knew you
before I knew;
my life kept

that space vacant,
the one that
belongs to you.

I know you the way
I pray time knows
what’s for us all.

You came, I saw,
you conquered me.
I know you’re gone.

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