Her father left when she was just eight.

Not that it made any difference;

He never paid her any mind when he was around.

Not that anyone paid her any mind;

Momma always tending to five younger siblings.


He’d lost it in the war when he was just twenty two.

Not that it made any difference;

He’d never gotten to use it before anyway.

Not that using it would make him a man;

He’d started off as half a man, no confidence to talk to girls.


When she became a woman she got what she wanted.

And why not? She was beautiful and she knew it;

It didn’t matter that none of it meant anything.

She loved the way they wrapped around her finger;

As deep in love with her as she wished she could be.


People knew he’d been injured,

They just didn’t know how;

How could he tell his mother she’d die grand-childless?

He hated the furtive glances, the baseless speculation;

Their imagination couldn’t be worse than the loveless truth.


When she met him everything changed.

The attention was different;

He couldn’t give her what most men could,

So he gave her something better:

The key to her heart, and his own for company.


When he met her everything changed.

She could tell right away,

And she didn’t bat an eye.

She didn’t want children anyway,

And she got her fill from creeps on the street.


Together they were perfect,

Jagged edges fit together

Like keys in locks,

Feet in socks,

Mortar and blocks.


He didn’t mind at first,

The men around her fingers,

Her feigned love for a week or two.

But something was missing between them,

That she gave others without a thought.


She knew it wouldn’t last

The first time she left his bed for another.

She hoped he wouldn’t mind,

But she could never expect it;

It was her demons taking over again.


He tried to make it work;

He knew she couldn’t stop,

Any more than he could stop

Craving her the way she craved them.

So he kissed her goodbye with a wave of his pen.


She found the note by his empty bed,

Tear-stained, bleeding ink ran red.

He’d found her heart,

Gave it to her,

Then ripped it from her chest.


It destroyed him to leave her,

He’d given her his heart,

But he was unable to get it back.

He was a shell of half a man,

And he’d never be whole again.


Together they were perfect,

Jagged edges shattered

Like bones and sticks,

Glass and bricks,

Floor and dish.