My biggest regret

is that I let you teach me

that love was a thing that hurt

a place of thorns

of waves crashing on jagged shore

of structures falling apart.


My biggest regret

is how

-for a while-

I let you poison me.


I let you taint the thought of someone’s bones

cradled in mine

because I feared I would hold them like yours.


I let you ruin the feeling that I could be something

be someone

be a person who did what they could, and tried to do good.


I let you crush the words that once inspired me

swept life into my bones

words like “stay”

and “change”

and “marry”.


My biggest regret

was that I let you teach me

that trust was a thing to be constantly scrambled for

to be constantly out of reach.

That I was to wake up

to cold sheets and an unforgiving ceiling

and not even be able to find enough for myself.


My biggest regret

was how

I always had to choose

between holding on to what truth I could find in you

and holding on to you.


My biggest regret

is that I took so long

to let go.

Brendan Freiler

Originally published in the 2013-2014 edition of Outside In.