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I meant that you never met me halfway.
I meant that you stayed in one place
and watched me. And waited.
And did things on the side behind my back
because well, I suppose, you just had to.
I meant that you were never willing to
do what it took to make it work.
I meant that you left, slowly, cruelly,
because you wanted to believe in me
but didn’t, and would rather I prove myself
with the clock ticking.
I meant that you never starved yourself
or spent the night in the street
so you could afford one touch or one kiss.
I meant that you never slept with a stranger
for a lottery ticket
because you were running out of time
and your body was all you had left to sell.
(They drew the winning numbers
the next morning and the ticket didn’t win.)
I meant that you walked down the aisle
and said your vows and blamed me
for your misery, for being too late
and then I had to hold my peace.
I meant that you never made it easy
for me to hold my peace.
I meant that you always came first.
Your safety. Your security. Your money.
She and I were merely incidental.
I meant that you were never satisfied,
not with her nor with me, and you
would hurt everyone around you, for you.
I meant that you would let a better man
do the work for you and claim it as yours.
I meant that I thought
blackmailing me with my past
in exchange for cheating with you
for my future, was beneath you,
but it wasn’t.

You said you loved me and kept saying it
and I had to tell you to stop
because I heard you back then
and I hear you right now
but everything you did
and didn’t do in between,
says otherwise.
That’s what I meant.

“Jen” by photographer Sonya Khegay


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