I wish I could just be attracted
to you; how straightforward
life would seem.
I stepped over a crack in the sidewalk.
The silence between us compelled me
hiding, as always,
behind a sisterly affection,
I chided his oversimplification:
Wouldn't we, even,
fight over the remote?
A smile broke the solemnity
of his profile.
Who argues about that?
I don't know.
We passed a man sitting beside
the Rite Aid pharmacy, still and pallid,
who looked already dead.
We wouldn't he said.
I rolled the familiar taste of sadness
around in my mouth
and swallowed it.
For years everyone told her, move on.
She couldn't without a replacement,
without someone else to call
when the snow on the drive back frightened her
or a funny thing happened at work.
Anyway, there was no point forcing the issue.
So she waited and when it happened,
she kept her it to herself and just started forgetting
where she'd put the things he'd given her,
like his extra can-opener,
or the feeling of being known.
On weekends, trying not to think about the waste,
by that meaning how well she had been able
to predict his reactions,
the hours spent driving him to airports
and reading his favorite books without pleasure.
It would have been easier to be angry,
an emotion he didn't deserve: after all,
he had never been dishonest and had been,
at many times, her best friend.
But friend is a faceless word,
a many of which he had become just another,
as she had known he would.
And she is fine,
even if some nights she still rehearses
a list of things she might've done in the early days
to yield a different result:
always worn heels
been less available
darkened her hair.
She counts them like sheep to fall asleep.