when i finally tied his letters up that summer
& lost them in my parents’ attic,
i garnered the shards of my post-modern romanticism
and decided to move West.
this was my 20-something time
to eschew all modicums of sensibility
and start a riot in my quiet life,
party of one:
a renaissance of the heart,
a final leap through hoops of flames
where my thin skin would thicken as the ashes settled
and i’d never look back to where he stood,
a pillar of salt marking the door to my Past.

in December i quietly dried my eyes
and counted out the states to set between us,
a breadcrumb trail of rivers and towns
he’d never ask to trace.
i gave no warning,
my final good-byes flung from the driver’s-side window
at every state border
as i left him behind.

i loved him, of course
the way you always love the one who keeps you down
like a stone upon your paper wings
or a certain song you wish you could forget
but can no longer fall asleep without.
i loved him without regret —
until i regretted everything.

tick, tock.
given enough time and
the right person’s smile,
everyone of us will dream 
of a runaway cliche.