The tumor of love is inoperable,
flush against the aortic wall.
A cancer already metastasized,
traveling up the spine into my brain:
every synapse reminds me of you.
Protected in a cage of bone and sinew;
it presses against my chest, filling the empty space
as it cracks the sternum and opens me alive.
This weight, pressing against my heart
is tangled in a mess of faulty wiring and
broken pieces of clockwork apparatus
pumping out the blood—
The tumor lies dormant
but ready to rupture my insides—
organ by organ—a multisystem crash.
The air won’t fill my chest, as I take
shallow breaths—giving me just enough
oxygen to survive.
Synapses pop—one by one:
an explosion of blood, hot as magma,
rips through my veins, searing the skin.
I’m left broken—
love sick, and weak at the knees.
I won’t heal any time soon.
The scratches becoming scars,
but you will never know.
This malignant tumor consumes me
and I am Crushed.
Let me split you open and
spill the contents of your soul—
like I would to the porcelain piggy-bank
gathering dust on the shelf.
Breaking it for only a few copper coins—
for a look at your guarded heart.
I traced each scar,
the wounds of your past
and despite everything,
I said it was beautiful.
You said I could hold it,
care for it like my own—
I promised not to let it break.
one crack could render you
I wouldn’t lose you over
a broken heart.
You can’t hide anymore,
I’ve seen the worst of the damage
in the place where you hurt most.
I know the wounds are still tender;
I know you need more time to heal,
But I’m here, waiting, prepared
to spend each moment mending
all the shattered pieces—
suturing all the fissures in your life.
Hand in hand, heart in hand—
I’m not letting go of you.
The way your eyes bore into me and through me—
it’s like I’m not even there,
but you’re staring and it feels like you have your hands
all over me.
My skin prickles as your gaze passes over each part of me.
My muscles twitch, wanting to reach for you
and I look back, my eyes meeting yours.
I hesitate, taking a shaky breath
and then you kiss me.
Alexis Billinge is 27 years old and living life in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Theatre, and spends her free time reading, writing, and watching TV/films because storytelling in all of its many forms is important to her. She loves musical theatre and punk rock, and coffee is necessary for her survival.