but as quickly as you give, you take away: there is no penance
in your smile.
Loving you is like playing in traffic; sooner
or later, someone is going to get hurt. Because

there is no light
at the end of this tunnel, just another set of high beams -

somebody
rushing to somebody, doing close to ninety
on a road that's forty-five. I wonder
if you ever hurried to me that way, eager for something
more than my willing mouth.

Do you remember
promising to love me?

It's probably my own fault: I was never good
at reading the fine print. Maybe that's why I did not see

the restrictions when you said

you would never
hurt me. And when I packed those words away
in a box beneath my bed, they left
an emptiness that was not there before
you.

I did not mean to give myself away.

You are a lesson in negative space. I tried to catch you
on paper, to recreate your lines, but you
frowned and looked
away. So I tore the paper in half with charcoal
stained fingers and you didn't

say a word to stop
me. Instead you let me fall one more time, into
those hurt and hazel eyes, and

this is not a love poem.