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November 8, 2012
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My heart snaps the first time, as frail as a fish bone,
under the weight, not of your words, but of your silence,
your long silence stretching
in innocent pretense over the days.
I go on, perfectly well,
without the quiet song of a pulse to guide me.
I simply retreat into myself.
And I try a pretense of my own: I play music,
the songs I used to live for,
and I try to remember the subtle risings and fallings of feeling
the notes are supposed to stir in me;
I learn that feelings are impossible to force;
I learn that it's better not to lie to oneself;
there's no crime in becoming better friends with silence.
I sit for long hours by a window in the afternoon,
forcing myself into the sun-bright pages of a book,
even on the days when the heroine's true love
presses his mouth boldly to hers for the first time
and no emotions sweep me away, and all I see
are their hesitant kisses reduced to merciless strings of letters,
and I plod along to the next sentence and the next,
and my eyes do not linger over the delicate turnings of phrase.
Occasionally I submit to the way the world quivers and spills over
and drowns me. But being broken in new places hurts less and less
each time. I build up immunity. The breaking now is delicate,
polite, subdued; something to be expected, endured.
Something slight, of no consequence really.
When it mattered to me, I was lying to myself, I realize now.
We pass in the hallway one day, by chance,
and I can't look you in the eye.
My body trembles, a traitorous creature. I swear
my heart still lies dead to you.
You say a few words, nothing significant;
you slip your hands into your pockets and say you have to go.
Neither of us says goodbye.
You simply fade away into the ambiguous grey
of this life.
Written several months ago.
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