a soft kiss on the bare shoulder where
you found something new you thought
wasn’t there before

i felt it like a feather landing on dust 

in the dark where it was 
the only patch of skin 
exposed beneath the blankets

i thought it was a dream i didn’t know
you were capable of such tenderness
i had to ask you twice if it was real

the first time 
you made me think
i was a doll whining 

ignoring my question 
i cried 

when life becomes 
the only obsession

i turn into a pile of twine i have to push
myself down the flight of stairs to unwind
it is a careful but necessary violence 

to forget you

Shelby Hartness is a writer & poet based in Half Moon Bay, California.