May 9, 2017

Two poems by Shelley Converse-Rath: "Was You" and "You Always Leave"

Shelley Converse-Rath attended Whittier College and graduated in 2010 with a major in English and a minor in Sociology. She is an active member of Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Kappa Delta. She was the President of the Creative Writing Society at Indiana State University, where she received her Master's in English and was a Teaching Assistant for the English Department. She was also Editor-in-Chief of Indiana State University's Allusions Magazine.

Was You

I found a picture of you the other day, and
I remembered how you used to kiss my mouth
And touch my skin;
I never wanted for anything else.
I have a new man;
He’s fine.
He kisses my mouth and touches my skin
And tells me he loves me
And worships the freckles on my shoulders
The sun in my hair, and the fat on my thighs.
He offers me relentless love, but
All I ever wanted was you.

You Always Leave

It's become a routine.
I'll get off work, then you,
and we silently pretend that we have other plans for the night.
But you will step into my door and fill my apartment
and drinks will be poured as my bare feet dangle from the counter
you will grab my hips and kiss my face
Together we fall into my bed--or the floor--
and you will grab my hips and kiss my face.
I awake first, early, always;
I put on music you never like
and cook breakfast, humming softly in the still of a sleepy morning.
Eventually, I wake you and you grumble, pulling me
back into the sea of blankets, smelling slightly of sweat and tasting like you.
Your appetite, voracious, as you dutifully choke down my coffee, and greet the day
puffy-eyed and stubborn.
We will tumble to the floor once--maybe twice more--and I will revel in
the moments afterwards where my head finds your heartbeat.
But then you will inevitably say, always so nonchalant--that you have to "get going"
and I focus on the rise and fall of your freckles
So the loneliness feels easy.
And you will put on your jacket and jeans, and I sit forlorn
my hair in knots, my face plain, staring at the remnants of breakfast on the coffee table
as you tell me you love me, kiss me once--maybe twice--and you leave
you always leave.
I pretend that I am grateful to be alone,
but I stare at the coffee in the pot that I won't drink,
the pans in the sink.
And I begin to clean.

(These two poems were previously published in Indiana State University's "Allusions.")

© Shelley Converse-Rath

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