Image for the poem Just The Edges

Just The Edges

I thought I heard you say
I love you.
Startled me, like a minor car crash.
Enough to alter time, for a long moment.
Changing the parameters
of this evening.

I'm pretty sure I heard you.
So my sticks and stones alerted,
to build up the guard around me.

I thought we had agreed
that word was off limits.
Maybe we hadn't made a pact
not to say it.
But that night, months ago
when we were trading rules,
it was one of them brought up.
Heads nodded, and we got past it,
to the next agreement of
no getting each other's name
tattooed anywhere on our bodies.

Maybe I misunderstood you,
I'm sure I did.
God forbid, it's love.
That would center things
and make everything thoughtful.
Didn't we agree, to stay,
to just the edges.
The way birthdays
are kept to a texted candle.

It wouldn't be you to break
our vow of no vows, anyway.
It's you with the limitations.
Of time. Of no making too much
of a mess with you.
Seeing how you have to get back to him.
Returning looking bored, tired,
from just another evening spent
at your sister's.
Because she's sick again, and
needed help with the kids.

One of these nights, she won't agree.
You'll piss her off, over something
not very important.
So she'll say that she can't lie,
for you and your piece of ass anymore.
She'll time it, to the last minute.

And I will get that text.
The hey babe, can't make it.
As I go change my shirt,
to a less frustrated one.
But I won't complain,
seeing how at least
I cleaned my house.

And I won't count my drinks.
I will miss you less, with each one.
You will be just a curse word
under my breath.

You had said it, this evening.
A hollowed out version
of I love you.
But you didn't say it to me.
It was to him, while you
told him you'd see him
in just a bit.
Right after you promised
that you were heading home soon.

While I wrote goodbye
with my finger, upon your back.
I ended it with a period,
using that mole by your spine.
While you held the phone propped up
with your shoulder, as you
slid a leg into your jeans.

While I stared at the ceiling fan,
as it shredded this evening for me.


When I write about you,
I usually stick to the good traits.
It reads well, all the way, to the end.
Ones like this, I throw away.
I need no reminders, of
how I never fall asleep
with my mistakes.

I wonder if he noticed, yet,
months now, those earrings,
that I had given you.
How they compliment your eyes.
Even though you're usually
looking down, around him.

While I'm looking up.
The ceiling fan has dirty blades;
It catches so much of us.
So I wipe it down,
every time you go.

Of course I don't love you, either.
Because everything I ever love,
goes away.

Written by Styxian
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