we are separated, he said.
distanced, you might call it, separated, “we don’t get along so well now”–
whatever the case, damn it, it’s over.

i know, i said quietly. i figured it out the day your stapler disappeared.
i opened my hands wide, gesturing to the empty space on the counter
where the Swingline once sat. it was brand new, candy apple red
(candy apples are not actually that bright, why do we compare things that don’t make sense?
i wonder.) and when i snuck behind your back and pushed papers between it
to marvel at its bonding powers it would snap.

i put my fingers between the teeth once
and felt the tiny steel pierce my cold skin. it bled a little bit, but not much.

he eyed me quizzically, shook his head in my mother’s
“I will never understand you” gesture.
we stood still.

i stared at the space where the stapler used to be,
remembering the time i tried to staple myself, hoping it would keep me together.

now, standing on either side of a gulf ever-widening, the truth hurts:
not even steel clawed fasteners from your (not really) candy apple red swingline
could keep us together anymore.


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