A Dreamless Sleep

I knew about halfway through.
It was less of a relationship
and more of a mothering.
I picked up your discarded socks
before friends came over, turned off
the stove when you forgot. I paid
for every meal and month of rent
so you could live your dream,
tucking mine beneath my pillow
for a drowsy stretch of time.

If you’d asked me if I was happy,
I would have tipped my head like
you’d slipped into another language.
But I loved you, or at least I was
pretty sure I did, and if anything better
was even out there at all, it wasn’t
meant for me. I loved you, and
I hated the mechanics of us.
I didn’t yet know a woman
with a different story.

I swallowed my resentments
like a collection of knives
lest I turn them on you or
press their edges to my skin.
I kept my hibernating rage
asleep. I did these things
until they stopped working.
I woke, belly full of blades,
and remembered: I am alive,
and that is not a mistake.