Holding My Breath Until Morning / Denial

You're like smoke.
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Shapeless, or just too many shapes to settle on anything real, anything solid.
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If I make myself look, I can see you- a looming, dark, mass always present in the corner of my thoughts
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Sometimes I wonder if you're even there at all, or if it's just a trick of the light- my mind turning shadows into monsters
Sometimes, I can almost even convince myself that's true.
Almost.
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When I reach for you, I can't quite hold on
You always slip through my fingers- leaving them empty, but shaking from the memory of blistering heat
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Sometimes I catch a sudden, intense smell- the odor of something charred and crumbling, but I can't quite find the source
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I try to follow your smoke trails anyway
You've got to be here somewhere
I can feel you inside of me
You blacken my lungs and poison my blood, starving me of oxygen
And I cough up soot and ash
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I am suffocating
You are burning this house down around me
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And if I'm honest, I know exactly where to find you.
Every time I build up enough courage to come near, I find myself trembling; the back of my hand against the door to measure the heat. How deadly is the room beyond it?
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Barely wrapping my fingers around the handle is enough to leave my flesh screaming.
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But I know I can't escape without walking headfirst into the flames.
Into you
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And I'm afraid you would swallow me whole,
And leave nothing behind
But smoke.

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