When you ask me
to decipher jumbled-up words
From the day’s newspaper,
I take a moment,
To memorize the half-smile
On your face as you take
the black-and-white sheet back.
I keep looking for that smile
In the arms of lovers and
the eyes of friends,
and only sometimes
do I discover it,
in the bathroom mirror.

I write about everyone
except us, lest you should
One day find it and say,
like always, that you
do not understand,
even without reaching
the end.
Each line that you don’t read
Sets us back,
A little more,smothered
by layers of conversations
About lunches and dinners
And the weather.

I have dozens of
shushed stories stashed away
with my childhood, enough to last
the rest of your days; and still,
every time you read someone else,
I abandon mine and wish to be
them, instead.
My writing and I
are not quite the puzzles
you imagine-
I think
we could still figure out
all the garbled sentences
that have been scratching
our silences for too long,
if only we take
one jumbled-up word
at a time. You could still be
the best story I ever live.


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