Broken Promises

It’s in these moments, roused from fitful sleep
That you are aware of how achingly empty
The darkness is; no arms reaching out, no eyes
Searching for yours as you bid sleep a bitter goodbye.
Once upon a time, this was enough.
You tick off your disappointments like the clock ticks down the hours.

First, you swore you’d never spend idle hours
Waiting by the phone, foresaking sleep
Wondering if you were thin enough, rich enough, pretty enough.
You swore you’d never let a man make you feel empty,
Never break down when you’ve said your last goodbyes,
Never spend an evening wiping mascara from tear-filled eyes.

You roll onto your back, press the heels of your hands to your eyes,
And curse yourself. You know you’ll be lying here for hours,
Every mistake playing itself over in your mind – kiss your sanity goodbye.
You swore you would never be angry when you went to sleep;
Now you wake in a fury, outraged at how bitter and empty
Your life has become. It’s not enough,

(And as a woman, nothing’s ever enough), it’s not enough
That you’ve got crow’s feet, fine lines at the corners of your eyes;
That your hair is going grey; that your bed is cold and empty.
It’s not enough that every night you go to sleep
Already bracing for the morning’s disappointment; that every hour
Is just one hour closer to that last hour, that one final goodbye,

That awaits you at the end. That final goodbye
Never worried you much; not when you thought this life was enough.
Now, you look back at a string of disappointment, one for every hour
(At least that’s what it feels like) of your lonely life. You’ve got bloodshot eyes
And a Cesarian scar from the boy you used to rock to sleep
Who never even calls you (just like his father), and you feel empty.

You rise reluctantly, joints popping, and stare blankly into your empty
Coffee cup before you begin your morning ritual.

You are fifty-four years old, sleep-deprived and lonely. You fill each empty hour
With mindless routine and harmless mistakes. When you close your eyes for the last time,
Bid the world goodbye, you think, maybe you’ll just be glad for the rest.