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I wish I could break up with myself.
Delete my number
Unfollow my social accounts
Box up or burn every trinket
that holds too much significance

(All of which I did
after my last heartbreak.
As if I didn’t have his number memorized.
As if I couldn’t still find him.
As if I couldn’t open the box.)

It’s difficult to stay
after all these years
of never being shown love.
At some point,
I have to realize this relationship
is toxic—all take.

(I haven’t touched myself in years.
All of them, to be exact.
Where’s the intimacy in that?)

The abuse is steady.
I scratch, pull, slice, squeeze
I get physical in the only way that
makes sense
—in a way that hurts.

I hide, look away, apologize
I shrink away from my own hatred
—terrified of its strength.

And then I justify the behavior,
turn off all the alarms,
hide the bruises.
I’m sure I deserved it.

“Why do you stay?”

Because this is more than a partnership.
This is home.
It’s run down and dirty and haunted and unsafe
it’s home.

How could I ever leave?

N. Alysha Lewis

N. Alysha Lewis is an editor and blogger with author aspirations whose love can absolutely be bought with french fries.

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