I don’t want to know you anymore

I told you I wasn’t a poet anymore
stop texting me prompts and images of the sunset or twilight or stars
when I taught you about the gods,
your takeaway was that they were all romantics and lovers
everything was poetry for them
what I wanted you to get was
they don’t survive the way they need to
who else survives on unrequited love and rage?
you can’t tell me that I’m a pessimist
when all you do is disappoint me
that’s the truth
go home

I told you not to call me anymore
your ringtone made me Pavlovian
my response is to shrivel and squirm
out of your spider-silk grip
stop calling me and telling me
about the flowers
I know what I said about them
I don’t want to be reminded of it
you torment me with your gentle touch
it is more than ache
come home

I would have told you everything you wanted
flower language was never hard for you,
you just liked when I made up the meanings
I substitute their names for secrets
I whisper to you:
“the flowers will not tell you their names
they sleep on lichen beds and moss blankets.
they house dragons and eternally hibernating beasts; why would you know their names?”
every time, I repeat
“why would you know their names?”
you respond:
“I know them by the way they rest upon the lattice fence of your tongue,
they curl around diamond edges with such softness, such safety.
you know their names, I do not need to.
that is enough for me.”
it was always enough for you.
you don’t live here anymore
so I stopped calling myself a poet.

Musepaper Poem Prize #41

Ash Marie Tandoc is a non-binary, bisexual, Filipino-American (current community college student) whose works are influenced by the intersectionality of their identity and the world around them. Ash Marie Tandoc is a new writer, hoping to expand their writing capabilities and learn how to improve their writing skills in poetry.

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