February 8, 2011

there are a litany of things i wish i could take back
a laundry list of missteps and car wrecks and times
my out-stuck neck resulted in restless nights
and tearful eyes (not just mine)

there were seasons my heart ventured nothing
and therefore nothing gained
but it lost nothing as well
so i tried to consider it a fair trade.

and then there was you, the eternal question mark
on my horizon, a woman i always wondered if…
but never pursued.
and when the question arose
i’d side-step the awkward poses
and change the subject

until i didn’t.
until i vocalized “what-if.”
and despite our best efforts,
over phone calls and instant letters,
we jumped into the cherry-red two-seat traincar
and rode the roller coaster for a while
before coming back to the start.

i fell victim to the danger you predicted,
fell in love too soon with swooning words
instead of flesh and breath and bone.
and when i realized the mess i’d made,
how deep, how bound my heart had become to
the thought of you, little more than thought alone,
i looked up from my wrecked traincar
and saw that you too had been thrown.

i broke your heart by trying not to break your heart.
(one more mistake to add to the list.)

i guess i should have said nothing,
should have left the question hanging,
because i can’t believe that this
was how we were supposed to resolve the issue,

with unresolved tension
the lingering question
and a pocketful of regret.