The Ribcage & The Heart

by Danielle Knibbe

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1.
Agony 03:18
I’ve been thinking ’bout us, thinking ’bout love, Thinking ’bout falling to pieces I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ve been wrong all this time ’Cause I’ve been watching you walk, watching you talk, Watching you stand hands in pockets I’ve been wondering how to live if you’re not in my life If you’re not in my life Oh don’t mind me, I’m just in agony, I just die a little more each day Tell me how can I breathe with you looking at me that way? I’ve been coming undone, biting my tongue Words bubble up without warning I just might let it slip how quick I’d give you my heart ’Cause I can no longer bear being so aware Of the distance there between our fingers A matter of inches might be miles apart Oh don’t mind me, I’m just in agony, I just die a little more each day Tell me how can I breathe with you looking at me that way? If you want me just say something ’cause all this nothing Is killing me slow, slow, slow So if you want me just say something ’cause it’s torment Every time you don’t mind me I’m just in agony Don’t mind me, I’m just in agony, I just die a little more each day Tell me how can I breathe with you looking at Looking at, looking at, looking at Don’t mind me, I’m just in agony, I just die a little more each day Tell me how can I breathe with you looking at me that way?
2.
I don’t miss songs I’ve never sung or books I’ve never read I don’t mourn all I’ve left undone or the paths I’ll never tread But I believe though I cannot prove it true I would feel the absence of you If we’d never met or said hello Would a part of me have always known? I suspect your name is written in the marrow of my bones After other lips had kissed me Would I notice something missing? I don’t miss songs I’ve never sung or books I’ve never read I don’t mourn all I’ve left undone or the paths I’ll never tread But I believe though I cannot prove it true I would feel the absence of you In another life where there was no you and me And we had settled down with others happily What if one day on the street our eyes meet accidentally Would it hit me like a freight train? A sudden ache that I could not explain I don’t miss songs I’ve never sung or books I’ve never read I don’t mourn all I’ve left undone or the paths I’ll never tread But I believe though I cannot prove it true I would feel the absence of you For I knew from that first minute My life was meant to have you in it I don’t miss songs I’ve never sung or books I’ve never read I don’t mourn all I’ve left undone or the paths I’ll never tread But I believe though I cannot prove it true I would feel the absence of you, I would feel the absence of you
3.
Footnote 03:02
You’ve got a sweater from your first love tucked in your bottom drawer I’ve never seen it hug your body or tangled on your floor And we rarely talk about her, and it’s been seven years or more But you’ve got a sweater from your first love tucked in your bottom drawer And I’ve seen pictures of her and they remind me of me One where she’s laughing with your brother, One where you’re both only nineteen And you say there’s no resemblance, and in some ways I agree But I’ve seen pictures of her and they remind me of me The longer I love you the more it’s on my mind What a painfully thin line Between being the one you love, and being the one you loved Once upon a time ’Cause when we talk about her it’s in the past tense You still smile at inside jokes you had, you praise her poise and intellect And I know that you’re not bitter, I know there’s no regret But when we talk about her it’s in the past tense And I can’t help but wonder if that’s how this will end Am I the heroine of your story or a footnote for the girl you love next?
4.
With my hair undone and my too short dress I am fraying at the edges, a disintegrating mess As the scent of disinfectant from the airport restroom Drifts to where stand And with your bags packed up and your eyes downcast My tongue is heavy with a question that I’m too afraid to ask So I’ll keep tripping over sentences And sipping from the coffee in my hand Anything to draw attention from the fact That I can’t watch you walk away again And I get you’ve got to leave me I’m not stupid, I’m not needy Do you have to make it look so easy, look so easy? With my throat closed tight and my eyes rimmed red My mouth is full of cotton, the throbbing in my head Is worsened by the stubborn squeak Your suitcase wheel repeats with every step The tell-tale harbingers of heartache as I watch you walk away again And I get you’ve got to leave me I’m not stupid, I’m not needy Do you have to make it look so easy, look so easy? Oh won’t you come kiss my lips and say we’ll be fine Scan your folded ticket, and take your place in line I’ll hold tight to your promises, I’ll wait on you to call me when you land And three months down the road I’ll watch you walk my way again Way deep down I know I’ll watch you walk my way again
5.
Reminders 03:54
Sprawled on the beach with cherry-stained teeth And laughter that filled up my chest A hazy memory I play on repeat to drown out all of the rest ’Cause sipping stale coffee from styrofoam cups And the weight of a silence-filled room Won’t be the things that remind me of you I close my eyes and I see us in bare feet As we dance our way across kitchen floors Singing “Forever Young” at the top of our lungs This has to be worth so much more Than trying not to cry in a dress that’s too tight In a sterilized hospital room These won’t be the things that remind me of you Oh I don’t know how we find ourselves here But I know that these moments seem to drag on like years And hope may be faltering, flickering dear But do you recall our backyard in the fall A kaleidoscope of orange and red How we’d play in the leaves till the cold flushed our cheeks This image is ingrained in my head So faces grown pale and words that all fail And days that I cannot wade through Won’t be the things that remind me of you Won’t be the things that define me and you These won’t be the things that remind me of you
6.
I wrote a list of everything that’s been running round my mind Filled up a page of loose leaf, front and backside And I’d like to tell you some of them but each time I decide It’s better for us both if I keep saying I’m alright I counted all the ceiling tiles that hang above my bed There’s thirty-seven if you count the half ones, which I did And late last night there was the same amount but why not count again? It’s better for us both if you don’t ask me how I’ve been I rearranged the books upon my shelf at least four times First by colour, then by author, then by genre, then by size And we were meant to meet at eight, it’s already half past nine It’s better for us both if I just stay in tonight I got the nerve to find the words to say what’s in my head I listed my neuroses and when I caught my breath I asked for your opinion and after a pause you said It’s better for us both if I keep quiet and pretend
7.
Simple Love 03:50
A cabin on a mountainside Stars light up the snow and I Am burning like a firefly when you’re around Coffee turns to midnight games Small talk turns to repartee And every time you turn my way I’m held spellbound It’s a simple love I’ve found There’s no fanfare, it don’t make a sound Yes it’s a simple love I’ve found and I don’t know how to hold you ’Cause I don’t even know you So come sit down here next to me On this sofa from the seventies I’ve never felt to much at ease with anyone, what is that’s begun? It’s a simple love I’ve found I’ve still got both my feet on the ground Yes it’s a simple love I’ve found and I don’t know how to hold you Damn it, I barely know you A cabin on a mountainside, Stars light up the snow and I Am hoping you can’t read my mind But oh how I wish you would
8.
Oh the Northern Cardinal has the sweetest song to sing With scarlet on her tail and fire on her wings Oh I watch her from my room perched up high in that old tree Till she hops from branch to branch and flies from me Maybe if I were as vibrant as her Your eyes would linger a little longer on me In the garden there’s a pond and in the water dark and cold I can glimpse the sparkling fins of silver and gold I remember as a kid I would sit there mesmerized My eyes fixed upon that fish and the way she glides Maybe if I were as shiny as her Your light would linger a little longer on me Maybe if I were full of her colour, her shine and her lustre Would you finally see? Maybe if I were as brilliant as her Your heart would linger a little longer with me
9.
I could be the one for you if you only ask me to I could be the one for you if you’d ask me Oh your teenage dream of a Springsteen heart on fire Is harder than it seems, you can’t fight the cooling of desire Lover to friend, everything ends, everything bends until it breaks What about me, what about we sit down and see if we can negotiate? Oh ’cause I could be the one for you if you’d only ask me to I could be the one for you if you’d ask me Oh your wide-eyed gaze never stays for too long It flits from face to face, it’s all right till it’s all wrong I’m calling your bluff, it’s never enough, it’s never been love no matter what you say What about me, what about we sit down and see if we can negotiate? Oh ’cause I could be the one for you if you’d only ask me to I could be the one for you if you’d ask me If you’d ask me, if you... No more late night calls, no more wasting precious time With another monologue about some new girl that’s on your mind Line in the sand, cancel your plans, you understand I’m not gonna wait What about me, what about we sit down and see if we can negotiate? Oh ’cause I could be the one for you if you’d only ask me to I could be the one for you if you’d ask me Oh ’cause I could be the one for you if you’d only ask me to I could be the one for you if you’d ask me Would have been the one for you if you’d asked me
10.
After Her 03:05
11.
Oh falling in love was my favourite game To play back when I was a kid Drawing hearts in the margins with every boy’s name When I didn’t know it could feel like this Oh falling in love was a frequent daydream I could picture each moment, each kiss Trying my hardest to lose my heart at sixteen When I didn’t know it could feel like this Oh I didn’t know, how could I know Oh I didn’t know it could feel like this Oh falling in love, well it terrified me When I grew older and saw what it did I kept my heart in my pocket instead of on my sleeve When I didn’t know it could feel like this Oh I didn’t know, how could I know Oh I didn’t know it could feel like this Oh falling in love, well I’d made up my mind Would be a sorrow that I’d gladly miss And then I met you and I knew I’d been blind I didn’t know it could feel like this Oh I didn’t know, how could I know I didn’t know it could feel like this

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released March 1, 2019

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Danielle Knibbe Toronto, Ontario

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