Bye I Love You

When I said those words I did not mean them

As an incantation to incite reciprocality,

Nor as a binding contract

Nor, necessarily, for obligatory reply.

 

As you pulled your hands out of my hands

And I pulled my sleeves over my knuckles

to protect them from the cold whistling wind

I wondered if you knew

I didn’t mean I thought we were cut from the same cloth,

Cortexes, parallels, halves of a whole.

 

I just meant that I could feel my blood pressure drop

And my breathing steady when you’d sit down beside me as I typed,

That I appreciated the time you held me when I was sick

And the way your apologies were not stick-on bandages

But warm steam rising from cups of loose-leaf tea.

 

I meant that I like sitting in silence with you as much as I like listening

As much as I value being listened to.

 

I guess I could have said,

“You are a warmth and a peace and a light.”

 

But I didn’t.

I said “I love you” and you walked away silent.

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