by Shameelah Khan

I promised myself that I would write you a poem

I didn’t want anything special. Not the verbose words or seductive structure

I wanted something that mimicked our love

A poem so powerful, only in its silences does it speak

Its pauses and breaths slip away in subtlety

The anger in the end was nothing but a misleading love affair

I wanted to write a poem so rich, its essence is captured through commas and full stops

The stops that remind me to remember where our love had ended

Most times

I wanted the emptiness of the poem to tell you that I’ve stopped missing you

But we know too well I write poetry best in strings of lies

I wanted the poem to bleed into itself, syllable by syllable

I wanted the first word to matter

And the last word to linger

I wanted to write you a poem

And over the years, it wrote itself as something that once mattered

Our poem started and ended with heartbreak

And in the spaces of heartbreak were words that rhymed with my name

And my name spoke truth and my name spoke pain

And then I lifted my pen and all but one word remained: YOU.

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