I was supposed to have been there for you, a specter
standing fringe-like in the pall. I am not alone
in this absence, yet I still long to be a part,
to be an entity. You remind me of this, tilting
your head with the amused expression used
to communicate with small animals. (I am only
a small animal around you). We wander askew,
lick our hands of the salt-syrup.
There are some things we can never talk about—
pockmarks, scrawled notes, empty drawers
—but what we can talk about sustains us along some
rutted road. I wrap my hand around your waist;
you peel it off. “Not for now.” I continue
walking, bone-taut, while you look as though
you have never once sinned. To speak to someone
that way. To speak love only when it occurs to you,
a whim. I was supposed to have been entangled
in your darkest fantasies: I found myself, instead,
a small animal, cowering in the daylight.