You said “I love her”
sitting cross-legged in front of me
on the side of the trail, under
that tree where we’d once kissed
like frenzied lovers. The same words
I’d held between my teeth,
circling for weeks waiting
for the space to lay them down.
I thought your words were liquid soap
in the cups of your fingers where
you washed my hair with them,
dragged them across my shoulders,
down the valley of my spine, and deftly
through the inlets of my toes.
How you said those words with your voice
seemed too easy, a well-worn sweater
pulled on in the dark. They formed
on your tongue like weighted olive
branches reaching out. Her name
was old-familiar from those books
you shoved back behind your shelf.
So I laid out my own pebbled words
neatly in rows and columns, though
they would never wash your skin,
only seep in this soil where, like
a hundred times before, I sat
across from you cross-legged.
First published in East Jasmine Review, also included in All The Tiny Anchors.