I Did Not Keep Your Letters

I read them,
and then I threw them in the trash,
but make no mistake, I read them.

I swallowed them whole.
I filled my eyes with every word,
I sewed them in patterns
into my flesh of my body,
at night I wake to entertain the ghosts
lounging in my bedroom
with impromptu recitations
of your letters, of your thoughts,
of the shape of you in words

but I could not keep your letters.

I could not let them languish
in a dusty box, fermenting
into poisons in the closet dark.
I could not let them lie in wait,
like coiled paper vipers
ready to strike the hand that strays
too far and stirs the den.