years from now

we'll sit across from each other in some
coffeehouse filled with punks & wannabes, try to
slice the tension with our plastic butterknives.

i'll say, do you remember when you loved me?
& you'll smile awkwardly, try to change
the subject to

something safer.

(i won't listen, but i'll remember
for us both.)

you'll see what's the same: slightly
crooked smile, bangles on my wrists. all
the nervous habits
you couldn't break.

i'll see the things that changed: the lipstick
that makes your mouth passion red; the earrings
you never used to wear. i'll know
you aren't dressing up for me.

you'll check your watch.

& when we leave you'll volunteer to pay
(but i insist).
i'll hug you, feel you uncomfortable
in my arms. my heart will break a little
(but i'll be all right).

black numbers, white business card:
call, you'll say, if
you need anything.

& of course i will, i'll tell you,
but could you excuse me? i have
to use the ladies room --

where, in the furthest stall from the door,
i tear up your number & cry
before reapplying my mascara
and going back to face the world.

(i never thought i could
without you, you know.)