He sits besides me
in the darkness of my apartment,
holding the heartbreak of my hand

with the saddest eyes that I’ve ever seen –
like two puddles at risk of overflowing.

He smells like sleepless nights
and the scent seeps into my skin
the more he holds me.

It’s not the tightest of touches,
but there’s a purpose to it
that means I can’t let go

because it’s been so long since I’ve been touched
that my body is coated with longing like cobwebs

and I need a touch of something
more than loneliness.

© Keighley Perkins


Collateral Damage

Your eyes are inflamed like collateral damage
and I can see the cities in you falling like rain.

I don’t know who started this war between us,
but it’s happened now and the damage
is too deep in my veins for excavation.

Across the war zone of our bedroom,
every breath between us smokes like carnage
until not even the white flag of my tears can be seen.

© Keighley Perkins

Being in love with you

Being in love with you
is like serving storms for someone
who only wishes for rain.

It’s like wishing to get swept up
in a tsunami of feeling with you
when all you crave is clear skies.

Needing you
is like being parched
in the middle of a flood.

It’s like drowning
in the depths
of a drought.

At night,
I lie besides you
and dream of downpours

and, in my dreams,
I plant tempests beneath your skin
like catastrophic diamonds to dazzle martyrs by

and offer you the kind of love
that needs no umbrella.

© Keighley Perkins


The way smoke drifts from your lips
reminds me, somehow, of love.

The chill of winter
holds me as close
as I wish you would

while I watch you consume cigarettes like heartbreak
until the sky between us is clouded over with you.

© Keighley Perkins

The Distillery

These days, I’m trying to get over you
but you’ve worked your way into my system
like a good whiskey

and turned my body into a distillery
that makes thoughts of you
in oaken casks of longing.

And, though I know I shouldn’t,
I find myself sampling the merchandise
from time to time,

getting hazy on the thought of you,
drowning these frustrated sorrows
in the liquored memory of your eyes.

© Keighley Perkins

Three Years

It has taken three years
to achieve this undressing,

but we are here now
and I’m trembling like a bridegroom
at each word your lips confess.

You reveal history
like others reveal skin:

slowly –
with a cautious,
backward glance.

You work carefully through your memories
until there is nothing left of you but the core.

A core I already know
and love and cherish
as much as a first kiss.

© Keighley Perkins

The Bookworm’s Break-Up

There are no pages
I could turn
to rid me of you.

You are the preface
to every chapter of my life.

It is your hand
that haunts me the most,

assertive in its cursive scripts,
lingering in the linguist of me,
inspiring a succession of chilled thrills in me.

How do you exorcise a ghost
that only lives in your head?

© Keighley Perkins