the uneasy refrain of my breath fills the modest apartment,
and you search for the words in its mass like rent in the laundry fund.
you’re in the next room, composing yourself. the arrhythmia in your step betrays you,
and I choke down a few sips of your whiskey to distract myself,
though I’m grateful for the moment alone.
I pretend not to notice your return.
instead, I lock my gaze on a pebble near your feet
and torment myself over whether you’ll call me out,
condemn the beads of sweat on my skin, the blush in my cheeks --
or maybe you’ll think I'm pensive — or probably, just unapproachable.
silence is your answer, and so you wait for me to concede.
I understand that there’s no winning, but I’ll reach for the crown to prove a point,
I raise my brow and drag my eyes to meet yours, inch by leaden inch.
armed and ready, my words return to the fight.
you call me callous, maybe you’re right.
Written by Tyler M. Michaud
Originally published in The River.