midlife

This morning I watched you dress.
You were wearing an apology,
Slipped on over sunscreen,
Slipped into like a time machine
Taken back to the age you wish you’d been

The day you met me
You pulled at your dress-shirt face
Wishing you could steam-press the explanations away;
My eyes tomato-stained your cheeks
When I asked you.

This morning, once again, I asked you.

You keep crumbling into answers
To questions I’m not asking –
Lover, I am duck-feathers
To your waterborne disclaimers.
I am sailing calm
Upon the broken ocean of your beautiful.

Our friends point out we are getting older,
But I don’t admit this.
I say we are getting polished;
Time grinds us together like skipping stones and marbles.
You say sometimes I remind you of a little boy,
And maybe that’s true.
Maybe that’s why you
Still
Let me
Watch you
Dress.

But this morning I saw you child-like,
Writing arguments on your eyebrows,
Trying to prove to the mirror
That you, too, are made of something smooth.

Lover, you must know that
There is no iron-clad logic here,
But this morning I saw you fragile as a wine glass,
The kind of lightbulb revelation
Better men have stepped on.
Lover, you should not believe in me.

Sometimes I hold you careful as a gospel,
Finding fear and wonder at the mercy and grace that shines through
Your faith in me,
My faith in you.
It bends the light running
between reality and fiction.
It’s like the way we stare through these lenses
To try to see ourselves within another story,
The way we make ourselves
The kind of beautiful that becomes
Just another way to say “I’m sorry.”