Poem: Swimming Small

You catch my gaze across the distance.
Many months later, you’re wondering
About the smallness of the world,
Or about the smallness of us.
I can’t remember if I’ve kept a secret or ten,
Or spread them like open-handed cards,
When I’m at my worst and my best.
You used to sing me sonnets,
Interject cosily between my breaths,
Until my silences got too heavy.
My “I don’t love you” is a crippling hymn,
But at least you’ve memorized
Some parts of me before I can avert my eyes.
I don’t know if I can stand it sometimes
All the vices of me against the world,
And I tell you not to wait for me.
But you tell me to “Don’t stand then,
Swim,” as if it’s that simple.
But who am I to question if it is?
Maybe it’s true that I don’t love much at all
But the firmness of your smile under a tide.
That we’re equally adrift, outside-looking-out,
Beckoning each other like two gravitating,
Wild islands, in the smallness of the world.

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