I’m Still Really Glad I Broke Up With You by Hannah Johnson | Poem No. 7 (NPM2017)

the sound of a heartbreak


I’m Still Really Glad I Broke Up With You

By Hannah Johnson


The summer I met you

I drank enough gin to fill a bathtub

20 years spent checking closets

for Narnia doesn’t teach you moderation

that comes later, after a lot of puking

so I’m lucky I had you to hold my head


those days I lived like I was on fire

burning the candle from all sides

gin is the mother’s milk of bad decisions

and I never got myself weened


everybody asks me what I was running from

they would stand on the sidelines

wearing masks of concern, cartoon mouths

stuck in the shape of slow down

and I wouldn’t


I’ve never put too much faith in warning labels

and you were the only one who understood

I wasn’t running from anything

my legs just never stop to ask what

else they were for


that summer we collided

I changed my name to freight train

just so I could keep up

I thought I was trouble,

but you were trouble

with a capital T underlined twice


when I asked about the axe beside your bed

you answered “zombies” like it didn’t need explaining

you set me off like a sixth grade kid

sets off fireworks as often  as possible

just to see  if he can get away with it

you moved fast enough to make Einstein weep

and my god it was beautiful


we made love furiously

clinging to each other like the frenzy of our bodies

could break the sound barrier

on the night that we did

you told me you love me

your voice rattled like steam engine

to this day I have not heard a song so sweet


it was dangerous to love you

locomotives train their hearts for coal

to keep moving

I knew someday the tracks might have my name on them

so I learned to hold on tightly,

learned to grip love like a vise

made armor from the bones of all the women

you’d ran down, determined to be different

to learn what they hadn’t

I would keep you

had to keep you

never leave me

never leave me

never leave me

never leave me

this is the sound I hear whenever a train passes


the soft animal inside your body

will tell you to turn your back

on your biggest disaster and

run as fast as you fucking can

and I hope you notice me walking


20 years spent dreaming

of a love like the movies

doesn’t teach you how to heal

when that love combusts so

I’m lucky, I had you to show me


the sound of a heartbreak



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