“Weather’s getting colder tonight,
better bundle up against the wind.
Take your hat and the scarf I knitted.
See you soon.”
“I’ll hurry. I—”
“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. I can be tender.
I won’t lie, though. Not ever again.”
“When I say I love you it’s not a lie.”
“When you say it I can’t even hear you.”
“You can’t because you don’t want to hear.”
“I don’t know what I want except I don’t
want the way we were.”
“No one has that.
we can only have the way we are.”
“What can that mean? Are we anything?
You define what we are in ways I can’t think,
burden us with words that are only air—”
“But it’s true.”
But words mean something when we agree
what they can mean or at least we come close.”
“But you don’t come close to me anymore,
we are closed.”
“I do. I do. I do. I do.
Open for me, for us, again—just once
let yourself remember the joy,
the breathless, dancing love we had.”
“I’m too tired to. I don’t remember love.
Don’t believe you can remind me.
Maybe—maybe I wish I did, maybe
wish I still could call you my baby—
but it’s gone now.”
“Just listen to me.”
“Why? It’s no—”
“yes, it can be, might be—trust me.”
“Should I trust you to break me again?”
“Hear my words. Hear my words, I pray
though you never listen. I say
what you’ve always wanted to hear
but instead you listen to fear.”
“This is nonsense or useless or both.
You can’t tell me I don’t listen to you.”
“But it’s true. It is true. Just think
of all these arguments you love
instead of loving. Do you see?”
“Don’t you think now you can turn these
breaking punches into softened spars
just because you want the impossible.”
“To go back? Yes. I want to go back.
Or to pretend those words aren’t words
but some harsh music we played,
forgetting it’s harmony that we love.”
“You wish for things that no one can have.
You wish for things I do not have.
Give you what? This love that’s bereft?
Or pretend it’s—that it’s always been here
covered? Hidden? It’s too much—”
But my love, you my love be still.
Don’t use words to turn your will
away from everything we have
to only the things we lose.”
“But we’ve lost it. We’ve lost everything.”
“We have our words. We have—we have—”
“Nothing else. If nothing remains but language
languished, empty, and unable to carry
us then why do we still stand here and talk?”
“. . .”
“Have you finally felt the loss of words?
Will you feel now the final loss of us?
Can you see our cleaving is cleaved?
Will you know, not believe, we are bereaved?”
“Hear me love. Hear my love. You, here,
with my love touching what once lived,
don’t lose our love over lost words.”
“We are lost—”
“But we don’t have to be.”
About G. M. Palmer