A blue scarf can’t cover the hickey exploding
eggplant across my neck – and when I haven’t met
his eye in days, not able to shake the snakes
from my face when I see him, he invites me
for coffee. It will only get worse if I delay –
he persists, coiling like acid
in my stomach. When we meet,
he’s bewildered by my apathy,
clutches his love for me. I’m an argument
he thinks he can win – how a body
can be got and once gotten,
the heart with it. But I only said ‘yes’
because you say ‘yes’ when you are oceans away
from home and he has already started anyway –
His fingers coddle his cup of tea, as if
they’re delicate, not strong enough
to bruise. I cord out the words:
we’re better as friends. Any explanation
but the real one. He tells me I’m confused,
will surely come around.
He is patient.
I stare at the bagel by his elbow, his wiry
body still grunting in my head.
I crave the exit
that doesn’t come and never comes
even when we walk out the door.