The words tumbled forward,
out of my mouth
before I could catch them.
I felt like a fool, promising to keep them safe only
to let them fall out of my grasp,
into the harshness of the world.
Your eyes met mine, but I looked away,
perhaps in shame, or
in something greater,
but I looked away all the same, and you didn't look back.

The words tumbled forward,
and I grabbed for them,
with a pleading gaze
and begging hands,
fingers brushing their tips before they landed
in the space between us,
never to be taken back.

You opened your mouth, ready to say something,
Hoping you'd say something,
but you're much better at protecting your words
than I am mine,
so yours stayed safe, in the quiet of your mind,

in the cavern of your throat,
just touching the tip of your teeth, before retreating,
much like I wish I could,
like you hoped I would.

But to give up now would mean giving up on you,
on the possibility of you and me,
so I wait, and talk some more, pretending I didn't
just say what I did,
that nothing happened,
and you pick up the new conversation,
as if you didn't know what I meant,
and everything is as it was before,
until I forget to guard my words again,
until you decide to acknowledge what I'm saying,
until one of use gives in or gives up, and neither one of us are
very yielding.

The words tumbled forward,
landing in a pile between you and me.
But neither one of us looked down.