he said he could take it or leave it, or maybe it was
some other trite cliché, laughing at me
as though i’d given him dogshit for his birthday
as though i was dogshit. i waited until church was over
before sneaking out past the rest of my family
i wanted to hide somewhere. i wanted to cry.
there were memories born in the garage out back
that i wished dead, i could give or take them, too
if i could, except i couldn’t take back those fingers
his hot breath on my neck, i could still smell his wreck
on my skin. i wiped myself down after he left
thought of his birthday, how now we were together
thought of his birthday and what i could give him
something else, something i hadn’t given him already
i could take or leave that memory, too. “come,”
my mom said right away, right when she came out
saw me red-faced and angry standing alone
her usual after-church socializing forgotten.
she was quiet all the way home.