The Vow

Spend sleepless nights

With wet eyes and ruffled hair

Dreaming of whoever she should be

Whatever man you wish you were

And keep on letting this hurt

Allowing yourself to believe

That you even had half the relationship

You desire and pretend you deserve

Her hair is greasy and always tied back

Your skin is dry, your breath stinks

And you both smoke and drink

Too much and too often

Every night ends with raised voices

Fingernail marks

In the palm of your hand

And your knee jerks like a jackhammer

Each bottle is finished

Faster than the last

But you keep on drinking them

Scared to glance at the ashtray

And its towering contents

If you sit outside

And weep

Every hour and a half

Maybe you’ll detox and rid yourself

Of whatever vicious seeds grow

In that balding head

And barely beating heart

But all you want to do

Is load your father’s rifle

Dust the trigger

And swallow the barrel

Preemptively

So you do it

Then toss a once shiny coin

As high as the ceiling allows

And pray that it lands on her side

Because you’d prefer

A good night’s sleep

A morning of cleaning gore

And life in a box

Than knowing you’d woken her

Caused her to laugh and gloat

As she dialled those three digits

So you watch

The coin continues its slow descent

And you lick the opening of the barrel

Tasting metal and decades of contempt

Then you hear a loud bang

From the bedroom upstairs

And a thud as her body lands

Her newly-bought pistol

Skittering across the floor

And the coin lands your side up

And you laugh

And laugh

And laugh

Then cry

Before tensing your finger

And downing the contents

Of your father’s rifle

Like so many bottles of cheap whisky

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