I want words that aren’t the “doing” kind.
Not the phrases that disorient you with some shiny distant maybe thing when underneath and right here and right now I’m dull and tarnished and wanting you to see.
“It will work out”, “I’m really very lucky”, and “l’ll keep you posted”, I said
How automatically I placated and hid, how easily you got distracted
and how lonely I felt when you took my bait and smiled.
I pulled deeper into myself then, obscured by my scarf and those awful reassurances that felt like saboteurs slinking out of my mouth.

I want words as loyal allies
that keep us both here.
The listener and the listened, the you and the me.
Not the verbs that betray me for the need to make nice
filling in gaps with perfume and laughing gas
nothingness that will evaporate as soon as I take a step,
leaving the gulf between hope and my heart wider for our interaction.

I want words that are big enough to allow for the pause
between the next thing and the uncertain now.
The ones that make room for the unknown, the unresolved, and the unsettled.
I want the words that are porous
that show you, me, from behind them,
and that help me breathe.
“I am struggling, “I woke with my heart bruised”, and “I’m afraid right now”.
Because when I say these words, I come clean.
The space between you and me closes.
And the space between me and me closes, too.
United, I can embrace another day.

I will call these words my lifeline
And try them out first with myself
“Hello, I see you”, “I don’t need anything” and “I know you are tender”.
Like my life depends on them, I will embrace their translucence
Out of the too soon coffin of my hiding
And back into the world of the real.

Photo by Hert Niks on Unsplash