Loving Less

Written by: Allison Ballard

Your once familiar voice sounds
 and garbled 
and angry

it burns more
Than any of the hot sorrow 
That I’ve allowed to sink into me 
For a year too long

Im realizing more and more
Just what species of person you are
Y mira, cabron
It’s a bad diagnosis- and I’m not one
To deliver bad news
Unless I can laugh

Or unless I could unearth the vast store 
Of the pain you’ve wrought
At a snap, at a blink, at a raised hand in defense

Could I even begin to think
Could I remember my burning stomach
Or the shaking fingers or the ringing in my head
Or how you’ve killed me a thousand times
Or have I’ve damned myself, just as you said?

Probably not… and I probably can’t
Even when a burn gives me ash and flakes of skin
A cut gives me a tool to hone my bloodthirsty nails
And every reason in the world straps shoes
To my tired feet
Puts a shovel in my hands, and instruction in my heart
To find my mouth again
To find a smile and say, hey! I’ll give you what you deserve

I don’t know
But either way
 I love less.