A Poem for 3 a.m. Pain

If you want to keep believing, go on.
But you’ll have to go on
without me.
I’ve seen behind the curtain, dear, and I still haven’t
recovered.
I saw the north pole of romantic love with my own eyes.
It’s just ice.
No secret passageway to a cozy warm den.
A mirage in a desert of snow.
A light to a thousand lost bugs
or the light of a dimly-lit bar.
Calling lonely people from their caves to mingle, to pretend away the hurt for a while.
It’s a charade.
I’m crying inside at the mere thought of telling you.
It’s wrong to spoil the illusion.
To reach into your chest with my cold hand and
add a little callous to that supple heart I can see like a mirror trick through your eyes.
But I feel that you deserve to know.
Because I love you, and your pain is amplified in my heart
the way fireworks sound over water, for days.
And I need you to know that when I say love,
I don’t mean the last two pages of the storybook.
I don’t mean the honeymoon suite.
I mean cockroaches in the cereal love;
no heat in the dead of winter love.
Because in that frostbitten cold, if I were to put my chest to yours,
my heart would know to transfer all our heat to you, and yours to me,
and in that friction we would be kept warm.
I love you in the way where if you were gone tomorrow,
I wouldn’t be angry or sad or scared,
because real love knows no fear.
And with all that heaviness of loving suddenly lifted from my heart,
I may just be able to, say, do little things again,
like breathe, or fall asleep.

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