YOUTUBE IS RECOMMENDING EMPATHY
I’m scrolling with a brick in my stomach, hoping tomorrow is the morning my first thoughts aren’t Did you die overnight to spite me? Will I run my hand down my stomach at the thought of him and find it painted with your blood? I never wanted to make you suffer and I want what I wanted to matter. I want to shit out this brick, but I can’t. And YouTube is recommending empathy, is recommending clips of singers crying at their own shows but still all I want is to be them, for an audience to lift me up on wings of sympathy so shallow and perfect, up so high I can’t see you seething in the crowd. And you, like me, learning how careless their love is, how unaware of the casualties, the skin we peeled off each other lying backstage like wet wrappers in the trash. You, like me, gagged while the love bleeds out of you, my pain a brick in your mouth. You can have all the tantrums you want but they’ve already made up their minds. Don’t you see where the cameras are pointed? You bite down, and there’s nobody left to catch your teeth.
if I could, I would be in your bed right now,
and there are plenty of things I could be doing there,
you know that. but it’s late, and I see, somehow,
even though I can’t see you through the phone,
that you’re tired and this is all too much already.
so, what if we’re only napping? you don’t even have to
touch me. just socked feet and the quiet darkness
of your room that’s somehow less quiet and less dark
than the other dark and quiet rooms I’ve been in.
the lighthouse-printed sheets. the space heater by your window.
the way I curl inside that small climate it creates
on the island of your bed. are you feeling hot? then imagine
a beach so wide there’s an edge where the even the sun can’t
touch you, where you can squint hard and still see nothing
rise or fall with my breath. I could tell you it’s okay
to want that if there weren’t all this silence left
to ruin. I could press my wet sponge of a face
to yours, show there’s nothing hard about any of
these feelings. I could cut my heart out and hand-feed you
what’s left but it’d only bloat you, and don’t you want
a vacation? don’t you want to let the cool sand
fill your ears, drown out all of this pesky need? it’s okay.
I still love you. we can talk in the morning.
Kat Giordano is a poet and crybaby from Pennsylvania. She is one of two co-editors of Philosophical Idiot. Her debut full-length poetry collection, The Poet Confronts Bukowski's Ghost, is currently available through Amazon, and her work has appeared in OCCULUM, CLASH Magazine, Ghost City Review, the Cincinnati Review, and others, as well as a variety of manic, late-night Facebook messages. She tweets @giordkat and shamelessly sells herself at katgiordano.com.