People with addictive personalities respond to rejection chemically:
the midbrain reward system says they are still in love—
the orbital frontal cortex over activated, like withdrawal from nicotine or cocaine.
Pictures from happier times replaying promises—sensational memories
of the other body they swore to cherish. I look at the bright bruises
of fingerprints on joints without names— count them over and over,
trying to forget the chronic coercions from mouths that kept me like a cocoon
of chew between the lip and bottom teeth: they are still composing suicide letters
with clenched jaws—If you had kept your promises. If you would have just forgiven me.
And when I say nothing, holding up my purple wrists, they say: At least come
to my funeral. You owe me that, bitch. Instead, I light a cigarette, blow smoke
through their ghosts, while traveling across the Continental Divide.
I don’t know if they’re dead, but they’ve all scarred my name
into their forearms—the caudate nucleus flooded with dopamine
from daydreaming of my quiet body filling the bathtub with them,
my bruises dissipating in their blood. But I’ve reached the mountains,
following the curves of the rock, I do know this: just one more s
and the desert would be something sweeter—something of cinnamon
and fresh milk and blackberries, untainted by chemicals or rough hands.