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In the Event of a Decompression
Gabrielle Sorge

In February, I read a self-help column titled:
“How to Love Your Depressed Lover.”  I followed
           each step: Kissed the sadness from your
belly button, savored the things you’d only admit
in the dark, believed that I could squeeze
           love into your worn body.

In April, I collected rotted
algae-covered promises from your gut
           and squeezed them through my fingers
as if I could will them into truths,
as if I could keep you from doing what
           you were always going to do.  

In June, I learned that your words
hold less weight than your scrawny, 5’11” frame,
           that you thrusted your shame
into me like a child thrusts toys
under the bed to keep their mess
           controlled and secret.

In August, you finally left, so I took up
painting and stammered strokes
           of black and blue across
a stark-white canvas—
the first time in months I’d allowed
           myself to take up space.

It’s been a year since your stage-four emptiness
swallowed me whole, and still, I can’t stop
           thinking of oxygen masks on airplanes
and how I hadn’t caught my breath before
realizing that you didn’t need saving—
           just help surviving for a little bit longer.

Gabrielle Sorge dreams of a world in which she could love off of baguettes and olives. When she's not writing poems or drinking copious amounts of coffee, Gabrielle is most likely listening to R&B from the 90's and early 2000's.

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