After a Decade

I’m sorry.
I shouldn’t bring you here like this,
where everything is reduced or inflated
by exaggeration.

Even you
will be distorted by this poem,
but I promise to paint you with all the pretty colors
this language allows
and still cover our lives
in camouflage.

I want you to know
that I am grateful for that
moment in the basement when
you shouted that married people have secret lives—
after you answered with honesty
a question I’d just asked.

It was then,
in the slaughterhouse of our union
I picked up my guts
and rearranged them
with my heart buried on the bottom
which is where it ought to have been hidden
all along.

I want you to know
that I am grateful now
that you never stepped into
my habitat of words—
I forgive you to the extent that you are sorry.
You’ve allowed me my own secret life
I didn’t know I wanted
or I’d need.

And here we are
holding hands on this white page
after a decade of maneuvering in and out
of the doors we chose to open to the other—
and I don’t peek anymore
into those rooms
you needed to close.


DeMaris Gaunt





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