“Leave Me Alone But Take Me With You” by Ali Shapiro

I can’t even be alone
when I’m alone, the way the field hums
all our old songs, the moon
pulling everything closer. You’re the ghost
in my throat, the lump I swallow
and swallow, the name that comes out
of my mouth no matter who
I meant to call. I meant to call more
people back. To love someone other
than you and myself and the dog.
Now look at the moon, its far
hard rim, a coin in the wide
dark palm of the sky—it’s the way
I remember your body, brilliant
and out of my reach. I’ve been lonely for years
but never minutes. That’s why
I’m so terrible at it, that’s why
I keep needing to be rescued. Night here
has a pulse, electric and warm, each ear of corn
a live wire. It’s the crickets, the thrum
of rubbed wings, it’s the way
you used to touch me—your limbs
all bows, my limbs
all strings. Look at the sky, it’s everywhere
tonight, relentless and empty
of signs. Look at the field, the way
there’s no one else in it, the way
even now, having left you,
I’m still what’s left.

“Leave Me Alone But Take Me With You,” by Ali Shapiro

4 thoughts on ““Leave Me Alone But Take Me With You” by Ali Shapiro

  1. Wow! Very moving.
    I wonder if everyone has felt that way sometimes…

    (The spirit of your piece precludes me from adding the flippant ‘or as Bryan Adams sings, “If you want to leave me, can I come too?”‘


    1. I love poetry that kicks you in the stomach. I’m a word masochist, haha.

      Speaking of masochism and Adams, I have that 80s song “Don’t You Want Me” in my head now. Painful! But it hurts so good.


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