If I wasn’t fixed on the bitter parts,
We’d have said our goodbyes properly.
I’d have laid my ear on top of his heart.
He’d coax, prey, and touch my unmoving
Head going up, down with his chest swells.
I’d hear his pulse echo in its warm shell.
I’d keep a clear count of it’s beating,
Until it calms, and he’s heavy sleeping.
I’d stab it, wake him, then press down harder.
The last beat felt in the hilt of my knife.
Carving out veins, aortas, arteries
Like I’m picking acoustic guitar strings.
I’d reach in his heart-shaped cavity,
Cause I’m taking the damned thing with me.
It was my idea to get this damn tattoo, and now my pinky is just a relic of you. Every time I catch a glimpse I can’t stop thinking of taking a knife and sliding it along my finger and shaving it off like a potato skin. It was a symbol of being linked together with a pinky promise that lasts forever, and I guess that’s true.
But boy, I’d love to pull it out of my skin like a bad thread and sew it through something flammable like an unused embroidered pillow. One that has an encouraging saying or a music lyric that people actually know—One that I didn’t have to recite every time I served coffee or lit a cigarette. Every thought a thought of you, because we etched it next to our damn ring finger.
He added tattoos to his other fingers to mask my handwriting on his pinky. He likes to pretend that his fingers or hands never touched every part of my body. I am a blip in his memory like an old family recipe. Not much thought I ought to do, because he never took the time to remember me. Even if my pinky were bare, I would still associate that finger with promises never kept.
About the Poet
Ashley Prinzo is a new writer from New Jersey. She will be finishing her MFA in Nonfiction at Emerson College in the fall. When she’s not writing like mad, she enjoys binge eating, befriending local bartenders and blogging about the importance of mental health. She wishes to raise depression awareness with her poetry and prose.