I remember when we first met.
In that bare 575 square foot apartment
Where I joked with the leasing agent
That the extra closet
Would stash vodka.
Blank slate, recently cleaned carpets,
And wall space above the tiny fireplace
Where I would one day put a dry erase board
Instead of a T.V.
The Mormon man and his son carried you
Up the seventeen steps
Into apartment 1723.
We’d never met, yet you held me
Like a big warm teddy bear
From a hospital gift shop.
You held me while I chugged cheap red gas station wine
With lights off and clanky blinds closed,
Glad I was alone,
You held me during my morning vodka
When I weaved words in emails
Convincing professors to give me an A.
You held me after I downed whiskey straight from a mason jar
And tried to impress a guy with a strip tease.
I said stuff I didn’t mean
Like they say in porn
Because I wanted him to want me.
You held me until the ambulance arrived
After the pills – a few swallowed and one chewed
Because I knew where I was going.
The EMT they called Red asked questions.
I answered calmly and they thought maybe
The call was for someone else.
You held me the minute something I didn’t believe in
Told me to stop drinking,
And then liquor lost its taste.
Life got loud and I hid inside
Reading books about intuition.
You held me because I was too afraid to close my eyes
When I meditated for the first time.
I kept one eye open
And both hands on you.
You held me when I got sick
And moved home with my parents.
That’s where I found my laughter
After the poison was removed from my body.
I moved out on my own again.
You held me then, too
Through the ebbs and flows
And paying my own bills.
And then the time came
To give you up
Because it made sense
As a mature adult
Moving in with her partner and his kids.
I couldn’t throw you away
Or put you in storage;
You needed to be in a home
Collecting marker streaks
And cookie crumbs,
You held me while I posted you for sale
“Free to a good home”
Because no one will see value in
Your paint splatter freckles
And ten years of wears and tears.
I couldn’t stop weeping
And took the for-sale post down
After 32 lifelong minutes.
You held me just the same.
“We will make space for it,”
He said. “If it’s important to you,
We’ll make space.”
I felt embarrassed
You held the T.V. and some boxes
In the U-Haul ride
To our new home.
We wrapped the straps around you
And you kept everything safe.
We had to take you apart
To fit you in the door
And the living room is crowded now,
But our first week here
The 5-year-old got sick
And you held her.
And yesterday I vacuumed
And cleaned up markers.