Within the Maelstrom

Within the Maelstrom
after J.

Arguments always seem to bring out the five-dollar words,
at least in the silences between rounds: You’re anhedonic,
I’m aphonic, and yes, I use
words as weapons.
They are all I have. Now,

silence has become the instrument of choice
in our cold war, this guessing game where mutually destructive powers ask:

Will the next move be capitulation                             (read: apologize, make nice)
or aggravation?                                                              (read: something broken, again,
perhaps a gold necklace, perhaps
a collarbone?) You rip pages from my journal,
as though that deletes them from existence, as though

that paper is where I exist. The part of me you truly want to hurt,
or touch, I think. Those pages torn away—I found them,
taped them together in secret, made a list: things
my lover tells me when he’s enraged. I joined a brotherhood,

you know, of those who consistently forgive,
but keep a record. Sometimes, on our good days,
I read it and remember why I change

ink colors with every new passage.

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