Cruelest Month.

Marisa Crawford

In 11th grade when J wrote a short story about our
first kiss for closure, showed it to me for closure and I
laughed and showed it to all my friends, threw it
in the garbage, or somewhere in the hall.
When M told me I was bad at making mixtapes.
When I made myself eat only Apple Cinnamon Nutri-Grain
bars or snack bags of Chex Mix every day for a year.
When you put my hand on the cactus. When you bought
her all the blue-eyed dolls with feathery soft hair.
When you called me a bitch on Christmas.
When you told me you didn’t love me in the elevator
on the way to buy the pregnancy test. When instead
of coming to my going-away party you returned
the movie late and didn’t pay the fee. I called
you a heartless monster then but does anyone ever mean to be.
When I popped the microwave popcorn in the 6th grade,
laid on the couch, and you came in and took all
the furniture away. When I cried in the corner and you
made me cry harder. When I threw your bookbag at your
bed with your bike lock in it, you called me hysterical
and I was. Is cruelty gendered, is it a feminist issue, is it
the kitchen sink when I left food in it is it the bathroom
shower where my balled-up hair is, is shame the same
as cruelty, did I leave it in my locker. Did I forget
the combination, would that be half as cruel.
How I kept a special jump rope
in my closet for beating against your giant body.
How I’ve never written a villanelle cause I have to
work for money. How you broke up with me on my
lunch break, excitedly.
How you probably only invited me back
to your apartment cause you knew that
I would buy you dinner. With the money my dad
got, from the day when all his friends died.
You tell me, the world is no good, love is fake,
ancient texts are dumb, our love is, all music is.
When I called K a lame straight girl.
When you called me a fake feminist.
When instead of coming to my going-away
party you called me crazy and hung up,
never called me again. 
How the last time I saw you my eyes glazed
over. How that will always be true forever,
how the last time I saw you it was the dead
of summer and I was asleep in your bed.
How I lined the walls of my apartment with mouse traps.
How he threw all the things you loved down the incinerator.
How I was a vegetarian for 16 years and then I got hungry.
How I wanna write the poem but I have to write the copy.
How L would hold me in front of the TV every time they showed
Chucky, how everyone on the playground would call me a baby.
How the killer in Chain Letter signed his notes “The Caretaker.”
How we ditched K at Six Flags on the senior class trip,
that was in June. It was my birthday. You gave me a stamp
set with a teddy bear on it. Told me to write you letters.
How the universe devoured it for being too cruel.