I Would Love Holden

I spent the day sick in bed while my

body ached from my failed attempts to

stop the shivers.

I was lonely and bored and felt

like shit and I couldn't even

write the poetry that tends to

keep me sane.


And I couldn't fall asleep the

night before because my brain wouldn't

stop replaying your words in my

head and

my heart wouldn't stop

yearning for your voice.


Your voice calms me and

soothes me and makes me

feel warm

even when it's cold.


So when you came and sat

beside my trembling body on

that trembling bed,

just big enough for

the two of us,

I asked you to read to me.


My voice was hoarse and

it cracked as I asked,

trying to smile painfully just

because I know you love my smile.


"Can you read to me, please?"

Those were my exact words and

you hesitated before responding

with an expression that was—

dare I say it—

guilty,


"Which book?"

There was none of the glowing

luster that your voice usually had.


My forced smile wouldn't fade.

I told you to read Catcher in the Rye

because if you weren't here,

then I'd be in love with

Holden instead.


You grabbed the little orange

book from the shelf, rocked the

bed as you sat, but wouldn't

open the book. You were just

staring into oblivion.


"I can't read to you."

You explained, with sounds

that weren't your own,

that reading was hard for you.

You said that it was different—


That for me there was always a significant

meaning.

But for you it was always too hard to understand

that meaning.


I urged you on with

all of the energy I could muster,

saying that you didn't have to understand.

I just wanted to hear

your voice dripping with

Salinger's praised

eloquence.


But you were silent.


I turned my back to you so that

you wouldn't see the tears welling

in my quivering eyes.

All of my visions of sitting, curved

into you and listening to

you read my favorite books to

me, disappeared.


Abruptly, suddenly, rudely

just ripped away by

your lack of sacrifice.


You told me how sorry you

were, how much you wished

you could be a better person.


I resisted the urge to say,

"All I want is for you to read."


My back to you, my imagination

shattered, my voice struggling, my

heart shuddering, my fingers

tracing the flowery pattern on

my comforter, I waited

for you to change your mind.


To say, "Okay I'm sorry I

feel bad I'll read to you until

you fall asleep."


But you didn't.

You just sat there,

drowning in pity for yourself

and pity for me.


So I knew I wasn't going to

fall asleep at all.

Some inner force, some sobbing

lost creature, emerged from

my cracked lips at that sad

and scarce moment.


"I write a lot of poems about you."

The dreaded eternity of inevitable silence

followed. I don't know why it

scared me so much.


I turned to find you stroking

the stubble on your chin, still staring

at some wondrous stain on my wall.

Then you said,

"I haven't shaved in forever."


So I turned back around and

wept into my pillow and tried to

conjure your voice but all I could hear

were fragmented lines from Catcher in the Rye.