My Body Is A Den of Hurt

I chase in my chest
the frightened animal
the ache of you became.
I try to snatch it up

but it scurries into the dark,
it worries my insides with
pine straw and cotton lint,
with scraps of blue thread
it makes comfortable nests.

The little wounded thing
that moved in after you
rustles under my skin
with its own rapid heart,
it thumps out of step
with the muscle in my ribs.
Somewhere under my body,
it sucks up the breaths
I am trying to take.

I have tried to coax it out,
I have left treats and poisons
in the bony hollows of my body,
I have called softly for it
against the river rush of my blood,
I have tried to hold myself still
through unmoving hours,

to wait for the animal ache of you
to scratch up its little courage
and creep out on its own
and when that does not work,
I roar and roar at it
like the lion I am not,

until I have worn myself raw
and slump down exhausted,
it crawls out of my body,

I let my hurt nuzzle up against my throat,
I stroke the soft fur of its body
with my quiet fingers
and let it whisper about you
in my ear for the rest of the night.

— Adam Kamerer

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