After the quiet melancholy

A collection of poems about heartbreak, pain, growth, and — eventually — moving on.

Matthew Davis, Contributing Writer

Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Going Down

 

The pain of our pieces not fitting after years of assembly

My rage at wet towels and wet socks

The joy of seeing your face again

The pain of watching you go

The comfort of my favorite soft sweater

The memory that it came from you

The nervous shake of cold hands

And the anxious tap of sweaty feet

I cannot focus on anything but my heartbeat

As it grows faster and faster under the stretch marks on my beer belly

I cannot yet tell if I want to prove you wrong or prove you right

If I want to give it all up or plow my head into my work

If I want to write or if I want to erase it all

If I don’t know who I am

Without you

.

Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela

 

 

it feels as though there is a thirty ton boulder

circular, curving up to the ceilings of this brooklyn apartment

the boulder is sitting on my chest

it’s been sitting here for so long that i wonder

if the curve of my sternum is made from its weight.

the boulder is with me everywhere and it keeps rolling on top of me and i can’t breathe

the boulder is getting bigger. the boulder looks bigger today than it was yesterday.

But perhaps I am too 

Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela

The Smudges in the Archives

the pain has subsided for the first time in months

and has been replaced with a quiet melancholy

the pages of my life have turned to a new chapter

a new fun act has begun but I still miss the first one

as I wipe away the smudges of the previous days

I archive our photos away

maybe for some other day

it hurts to try to leave this moment that I loved so much

but it’s over and done with and needs to be through

you’re gone and you’ve left and it’s been several months

and I haven’t lived in many suns

Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Picking Up the Pieces

this is just to say that i am putting my heart back together

i am picking up the pieces you broke

i am healing the wounds

i am moving on from the pain you subjected me to

the work is not done but after the pain came the quiet melancholy and after the melancholy i felt moments of peace, finally.

so i am putting my heart back together

so i am done breaking pieces of it off to feed you

i pick up the pieces all one at a time

all of my heart that you braided to twine

i pick up these pieces to mend all my bones

Rope that you’ve braided to climb out the hole

picking up the pieces of my heart

that have been strewn around my room for months

the pieces that were charred when you set our house aflame

walking through the neighborhood skipping the songs that sound like you

my friends remind me what being loved feels like and i realize

love doesn’t always remind me of you

this is just to say that I am putting my heart back together

I am picking up the pieces you broke

and the pieces I broke

and the pieces I neglected and let dust over

I am picking them up and gluing them and holding them tight

this is just to say

that I am going to be okay

 

Contact Matthew Davis at [email protected]