You always said we could clean out the attic later,
only later never came. I thought I’d surprise you,
clean out the bits and bobs and old junk and
get the job done.
You always said I hated the sea, that the ocean terrified me.
It wasn’t until my fingers slid across the silky pelt
that I remembered. I loved the smell of the briny waters,
more than almost anything.
You always said I was yours, and I guess that was true
in the way you can own a fish kept in a bowl or
a bird with clipped wings and a gilded cage. A pet
is kept when it is tamed. Safe.
You always said you loved me, that you couldn’t imagine
a life without me. You must’ve, though, to do this.
To take my pelt and hide it in the old curtains meant
to know what would happen if it were found.
You always said you’d do anything for me.
I took you at your word when I led you out into the waves,
your voice calling me back, your hands gripping to
hold me, catch me, keep me.
You always said you’d die for me. And so
I held your arms tight as we sunk, ignoring the way
you thrashed for one last breath you didn’t really need
if you wanted to stay with me.
Your body floated like a newborn pup, tangled in the seaweed.
I kissed your pale eyelids shut one last time before
turning to swim out to sea on the next wave.
I always said I loved watching you sleep.