Wouldn’t we be quite the pair?—you with your bad heart, me with my bad head. Together, though, we might have something worthwhile.
I avoid speaking your name in conversation,
throwing it to the air as if it were nothing
more than an assumption of you; it is my last
mode of defence. The last item of clothing
to discard before I realise I’m naked in public.
Because they can hear it in my voice. I know.
Even in that one short syllable that means
everything and nothing; your name is as common
as you are rare. As easy as you are not.
As simple as love should be, but never is.
But when I’m alone, I tie my tongue softly
round the familiar sound, as if pronouncing
with conviction the phonetics of desire
will cause time to pause just long enough
for the earth to hear me naming my loss.
Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.
Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols.
You do this, you do. You take the things you love
and tear them apart
or you pin them down with your body and pretend they’re yours.
So, you kiss him, and he doesn’t move, he doesn’t
pull away, and you keep on kissing him. And he hasn’t moved,
he’s frozen, and you’ve kissed him, and he’ll never
forgive you, and maybe now he’ll leave you alone.
People say I love you all the time - when they say, ‘take an umbrella, it’s raining,’ or ‘hurry back,’ or even ‘watch out, you’ll break your neck.’ There are hundreds of ways of wording it - you just have to listen for it, my dear.
Stop sneaking your
way into my poems.
Stop showing up in the last lines
when we both know you
never stayed to finish anything.