“If I Leave You Then Maybe I Won’t Have to Miss You So Much” by Ali Shapiro

Lately I keep things
just to throw them away: practice,
practice. What I mean is, I’ve had enough
longing, enough of nothing
ever being enough. Look how the earth
shrugs its mountainous shoulders, how the cows don’t blink
unless there’s a fly, how the pavement quits
to dirt without warning, how the river can’t tell
itself from the rain. Since when can I not
get over anything? Just watch me go
to this town’s lone bar, which is open and chock-full
of blondes, blondes, blondes. The jukebox plays country
for free, which leaves me
with my ballast of quarters and cornered
by a woman who tells me she breaks things: horses
n’ hearts.
 I wish she would take
my heart out back and shoot it, lame
as it is, run as it’s been
by you into the ground, but she’d rather teach me
to two-step, which it turns out
I’m born for, having indecisively shuffled back and forth
through your door all these years. But from here
you’re a myth, tiny
jockey, impossible as Brooklyn,
elevators, it not being summer anymore.
Look, even the shades
are half-drawn and drooping
like eyelids, the walls
like the patrons, sloppy
and slouched. I promise I’ll love you forever
if you please just don’t make me
start now, in the brief dumb calm
of the just-fine, with this cowgirl pressing
her big stone-washed hips into mine. I want to take her home
but to someone else’s home, or perhaps just send her home
with someone else. What I mean is, I’m tired
of everything gorgeous. Of the burden
of burning. Of wondering
when. What I mean is, on some nights I miss you so much
that I never want to see you again.

“If I Leave You Then Maybe I Won’t Have to Miss You So Much” by Ali Shapiro