We Go to the Beach During Her Withdrawals

Cheer me up, she says. So we leave my apartment
where she’s been shaking and rattling
on my couch for two days straight,
watching re-runs of Saved by the Bell and
puking into a bucket while I rub her back.

Not even triple digit heat can sweat
the toxin out through her pores,
a thousand tiny holes in her body
leaking something I could bottle and sell
as a love potion, because that’s what made it—

love, for what is crazy and broken.
Just like her, (like me) that town
thrived on attention and wanted to be
like all other girls at the party:
pretty and put-together and going somewhere.

The sun is oppressive, but her body
shivers with chills, her lips are pale.
She loses water faster than she can drink it,
starts to complain, yells at me
for making her quit, for making her sweat,

for dragging her to the ocean, and
for the first time in two days
I turn my back on her, walk into the waves,
try to understand for a moment how she felt
drowned by her need, taken by a swift current.