How to Bleach a Friendship

You turned around quickly, professionally


Stabbed me with your silent laughter


As you walked away, you said, None Of Your Business


Oh-so-casually ground my murmur into graveyard dust


You carefully, calmly, cruelly, closed yourself off


Rattled my eardrums with the inevitable tick-tock of a swinging door


You didn’t know, but I could feel you roll your eyes through the wall


Shrug off the fragments you’d collected on your jacket


When you tore up my question.


The rest was dirty windows, shuddering tires, jostling strangers, rhythmic tapping

Crop circle text, invisible strings, chokeholds and staredowns and blood vessels

Refusing the alcohol, faking the cigarettes, refilling the water

Kicking the brick wall over and over and over, brass section blaring in my ears and screaming WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF until the pain ran up my legs to the scrape on my knee, a dull ache from a tumble on freshly mown grass—


What’s the point, says the tightness in my chest?


Trust pouring out of me like sand from an hourglass, what’s one more stain?


I wonder if you truly heard me, understood me, after you’d given up?

 Were you able to translate all those profoundly long pauses?

(I was holding back the urge to scream into the receiver)

Just know that I’m languishing in the machine you built

And I’d rather you aired me out, folded me up

Next to your T-shirts, and your jeans, and your blue scarf, and your shrunken socks

Instead of leaving me spinning

With the rest of the loose change.