Rules of (re)(dis)engagement I

I have to constantly remind myself that I am not
the sum of our interactions;
remember the time we argued about the importance of “you” and “me”,
and how you called me a radical individualist
the invasive words glided out of your larynx
and got themselves tangled up in mine,
dripping aloe vera with a hint of pepper.

I never liked the way you seasoned
your food or your words or your age.
How forceful the bite of your blind malice,
calmly, facetiously, graciously:
“I didn’t know you wrote so well,”
the devil is in the detail and his throne sits on your brow.

The softest words often carry the heaviest sentence;
“I love you, please stay.”
That’s not mine. “I’ll pay.”
Our “we” turned blue when I realized that the thing you loved
more than me was the way you had made me love you.
The rise and fall of your shoulders caught in a hiccup
no longer signifies the natural rhythm you and I belong to,
but the hackneyed tune we have been repeating for far too long.

I can’t let you leave before having my say,
but the words have drowned in my gullet
and I need an ambulance and a good chef to stitch them back together,
so that with a little help they might tumble clumsily into your lap.
All that just to deliver a small message, unintelligible and rather bland:
It’s not your fault.

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