To Have and Not to Hold


In between your coming and your going I struggle

To be kind to myself,

And recall at which point precisely did I open the

Unguarded gates of my heart

To your impermanent but decidedly charming affections.

 

Was it the jokes, the banter,

The immediate exchange of thoughts and pasts,

As if we had known each other for years?

Did I know before I actually saw you that

You would disturb my already cluttered mind?

 

Were you playing one of your games

And did I lose again, unaware of the rules,

Or of the fact that I was taking part in it?

I want to go back and talk to myself

And warn her against you.

 

For what I found irresistible I now

Doubt as mere generic kindness

And an occasional exercise of your flirting muscles.

My only wish is that you do not deny

Any part that you took in this whole mess.

 

There must be a room somewhere

Where I can review not the events but your thoughts,

Your motivations, your real reactions.

For I heard what I wanted to hear,

And it was that you liked what you saw in me.

 

Now, fogged still by emotions stirred

That were long thought dead or protected,

I hear soundbites that pierce rather than comfort.

I remember the ending, the cold distancing,

And the washing of the hands.

 

You who wooed but insisted it was part of the plan,

To whom I acquiesced, too naïve to resist,

You swept me off my feet then put me down.

Such actions should be criminalized, and your punishment:

Severe and permanent solitary confinement.

 

If you were surprised how fast I developed

A liking for our uninterrupted conversations and our

Seemingly mutual joy at each discovery about the other,

Let me assure you that it struck me as odd too.

I watched myself fall as if I had never been vigilant of such madness before.

 

It is up to me I know to uplift my spirits

And believe that you had genuine care and concern for my feelings,

But I have not as yet developed the wings for such freedom.

We acted the way we said men and women often do:

Women feel. Men flee.

 

I will not apologize for not knowing

That I would be this vulnerable,

And I should accept your refusal to participate anymore.

But give me the space to remember

That once, you found me beautiful.

Alone

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