We started off
the wrong way.
You were dating
the homely-looking brunette
who worked at the Chevron station.
She often handed me
my 49 cent, 64 ounce Diet Coke
at the drive-thru in the mornings.
With Utah’s bitter winters,
many of the gas stations
have drive-thru windows.
Something I always found odd,
just one more awkward encounter.

After the first time
your stony eyes squinted at me
in Mike’s front yard,
you wouldn’t give up
at the thought of us.
I made the mistake
of borrowing my roommate’s
too-tight, purple, velvet top
to wear to a party at your brother’s house.
It was all over after that.

Her chapstick and hair ties
were on your nightstand
the first time I visited  —
a reminder that I was an intruder.

The Chevron girl
would cruise the streets,
looking for your truck,
and stop if she saw it parked out front,
demanding to be let in —
her heavy feet descending the basement stairs
as we pretended there was no impropriety.

I should have known
it wasn’t a sustainable relationship
when you threatened
to take a bat
to a car window,
because someone had supposedly spoken ill
of your soon to be ex-sister-in-law.
(She was a wretched human!)

when you’re in too deep,
you have to think just to breathe,
and even when leaving would be best,
it’s envisioned as limb severance.

The day we drove to Vegas,
you told me if we had kids together,
and they ever thought about doing drugs,
you would just explain the various effects
so they would know what they were getting into.
You never learned how to be a parent.
No one ever read Dr. Seuss to you.

As we walked to the chapel that night,
an old man tripped on a crack
in the sidewalk near the hotel,
and I heard his kneecaps shatter
against the pavement.
I was horrified at his pain,
and even more so when you laughed
at his cries.

I should have run then,
taken off my blister-rendering Mary Janes
and acted like it was a barefoot marathon.
I could have jogged through the night,
into the sunrise,
and back to a life less soul-sucking.