i have not slept well without the aid of sedatives since you left.
the dreams are screamers that set my lungs on fire and burn my body to bones and when i wake up, it is in a bed of ashes and i am alone to rebuild.
i am not a phoenix
and i cannot live on smoke.
the drugs, they dampen the ground beneath my feet, the air is thick with the tension before a storm that never comes, and i choke on every breath and wake from drowning without remembering the struggle. the memories elude me. the forgetting is, in a way, worse.
you used to be able to beat down the blaze, to pull me from the fire-pit before i settled in for the night. you used to make me feel safe.
in your bed, with you close, the dreams still came. they didn’t fear you the way they should have. but you displaced them, stood up to them and chased away the dark, and with you next to me, i slept better than i had in a year. because when i woke in the dead of night, when i cried and no one heard, i wasn’t alone.
when you left, the hollow of your body in the coals was invitation, and you led the monsters back home to roost. they laugh. i do not.