far beneath the patter of rain on empty glass
are the sounds of a million voices, some who resemble my father more than others, i tell them:
i could have loved you but you left me before i had the chance.
i sometimes think i still love you when you choke me out and never hold my hand.
i loved the way you felt on my body but i never wanted to say the word.
i loved you from so many thousands of miles away but it felt cursed.
sometimes in my sleep i visit with the faces
of ghosts who taught me to love:
in our old haunts, messages in familiar fonts
like hands intertwined hidden behind bleachers
or the warmth of an overpriced latte and clean white sneakers
or cliche stanzas in composition notebooks
with promises to never actually read the words,
just grade for completion &
sometimes i remember the way liberation looked
when it was in someone who never gave me the time of day;
someone who always seems to remain just a face and a name
we kept our secrets beneath our teeth,
each dance with the devil a different shade of greed
eyes gashed [by the daggers of our lost sleep]
and sometimes when i wake up tangled in my own sheets, can’t even
i am reminded of the way his breath felt warm on my shoulder
the nights he forgot himself and lay next to me.
cheeks flushed a different color when i tried something new
like i broke through a lock or some sort of cocoon
(she turned the music off so her lips on my body were the only sound in the room.)
but it took countless drinks at a bar i’d never been to: we broke promises
to ourselves and forgot ours to one another / she threw up on my floor while i slept under the covers.
Kat Johnson is a junior English major on the creative writing track at SUNY Geneseo, also minoring in women’s & gender studies. She primarily writes poetry. She also loves writing and performing original music, which you can find on Spotify. When she isn’t writing, she loves singing with her all-gender a cappella group, Between the Lines.