Graveyard

Poetry by | August 27, 2017

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I stand above the grave
of my heart’s affections
for you.
Here lie
bodies
     upon
          bodies
of promises
both broken and unbroken;
     whispered
     at the height of orgasm,
     unspoken as I stared
     at the back of your head.
You will never lay
another finger on me.

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I watched
as you stabbed
your suitcase
with unfolded garments.
Shirt
     after
          shirt,
then your faded denim pants,
old pairs
of your father’s socks,
a tie.

In the mirror
of our shared bathroom,
I saw myself transform
into a stone angel;
silent grief trapped
within this moment.
     God, I hated you.
     God, I loved you.

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My mother always told me
Don’t become someone else’s fool.

I was her reflection
her mortality
with her husband’s last name.
Don’t be a fool.
Her long fingers
creaked
like the hands
of an old clock, braiding
my hair,
pulling
lock
     upon
          lock,
sections married
in thirds.

There were only supposed to be three of us, she said.
Your brother and sister
were happy accidents.

I remembered you
and how you loved tempting fate:
     a hand
     at the small of my back in a library,
     cigarette after cigarette,
     the absence of a rubber.
You always called them
accidents.

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The eulogy for us
came in the form
of a love letter.
     There are times
     I want to live inside of you.
     My favorite moments
     are when you and I
     are “we;”
     snakes in heat.
     You pull me in endlessly.

It started the cancer
that crept
and sunk
into the bones of what we had.
You loved me most
when I was
quiet
sweat-drenched;
     the easiest to cut into.

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It’s been months
since I turned you
into one of my ghosts.

You haunt me,
     taunting,
          as incessant calls
          and messages.

Rest in pieces, my love.


Nina Matalam Alvarez is a writer and illustrator. A graduate of the Creative Writing program of the University of the Philippines in Mindanao, she currently lives in Dumaguete with her family and her cat, Basil, and is a proud millennial.

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