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  • Jimmy Broccoli

A Broken Record Skipping, But I Can Hear the Music (Faintly)

With my 100-day chip held tight in my trembling hand

I sit next to you on the deteriorating couch, lumpy and uncomfortable

I remain silent, looking down at the worn and stained carpet

with a universe of love, appreciation, and sorrow overwhelming my heart


My eyes have long cleared – I no longer begin my days with Visine

I’ve regained 8 of the 56 pounds I lost during the years I used

I’m submitting job applications, semi-respectable positions

that might make you proud

You deserve a guy, a man, who offers you picnics by the lake

Swans drifting elegantly upon the surface of the water

Perhaps an open bottle of wine, breathing in the fresh air

Future photographs, treasured, of you and him smiling, uncontrollably

You deserve the peanut butter sandwiches he will make for you

because they are your favorite

A tiny love note set beside your lunch, with a heart and an arrow drawn through it

To remind you how much he loves you

A man who physically hurts when you are away from him

Saturday evenings, too frequently, ended with my head in the toilet

You, sitting beside me on the hard, cold bathroom floor

In an apartment without heat because I hadn’t worked for weeks

or had forgotten to pay the bill

You telling me it’s okay and me telling you I’d quit

But I wouldn’t quit -

And I watched you as your future plans and aspirations

slowly, and painstakingly, swirled down with the toilet water

With my vomit circling down to the sewer,

taking with it your optimism

and your faith in my recovery and our future together

You’ve sacrificed everything – for me


You sit beside me now, your expression tired and worn

Then you smile at me anyway – it’s strained, but genuine

I walk towards the front door, my packed bag zipped up and ready

You don’t appear surprised, and you do not stand to protest

I suspect I’ve stolen your emotions over the years,

shooting them into my veins to die

You remain silent and still, your eyes following my every movement

Our old, unoiled, screen door creeks as it slowly shuts behind me

You do not follow me or call out my name

I think we both understand

Several feet down the street, walking towards my uncertain future

- I didn’t hear it -

But (I imagine) you just audibly and painlessly exhaled –

Perhaps, for the first time in years

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