Monday, February 16, 2009

Playing for Keeps

-for Jay, always

I haven’t really made it clear
what I have been trying
and failing to say
for days,
usually over a couple beers at the Grassroot
or wine in bed,

but I’m trying to say that I think that tenderness
that I feel now,
was always there between us,
just different. Maybe a little lost under the twisting
and bending of a decade of change.
As if we were so busy becoming ourselves
that, for a time, we stopped being careful about each other.
That to be just me
I had to untangle myself from the web
that is you.
And that doesn’t happen easily.
And when it does, there is usually some pain.

But this unraveling of a sort,
I think it ended without me even noticing.
Because here we are, sitting in a Burmese
restaurant and I am amazed by you.
And here I am doubled over in laughter on West 4th street
all because of you.
And here we are laying in bed
when you compare Dvorak
to a shortstop
and I fall all over again,

like I did nearly 12 years ago
when you came back to the desk at the library
with the James Joyce children’s book
and I knew then,
that I would never find anything as good as this.

And darling, I haven’t.

So please know that while I am a selfish stupid girl
and while I know I talk about myself too much,
every single time I walk into a room that you occupy
I feel your easy gentle laugh
as solid as your hand on my back
when we were dancing in the kitchen
to ‘In Too Deep’ by Genesis
and you tell me
that you always wanted to dance with a girl to this song.
I love that I get to be that girl
and I think how stupid all those other girls were
and how lucky this girl is,
this girl right here,
swaying across the linoleum with dinner in the oven.

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