“I and love and you.”

white lies & i go way back,
we’ve been hanging out for years:

since before i told my uncle his card was in the mail
since before i bit that kid in first grade who really pissed me off

but white lies & i started really getting serious when i started to feel the feelings of the people around me like boulders on my back.

don’t freak out; we all know everybody tells white lies from time to time
but what’s scarier is when someone sits you down to tell you the truth.

i’ve been pacing back & forth wondering if i should write this poem.
i went out and bought your favorite poptarts, they’re in my pantry, you’re approximately 82.3 miles away

& i don’t know what to do next; you never imagine
things like this happening

but they do, without warning & suddenly i am sitting on a concrete slab wrapped in a scarf & christmas lights waiting for the time to be right & wondering if that means waiting forever.

i am afraid that if i tell you the truth it will not set you free & it’s difficult to imagine how few of us would forgive ourselves for the things we did not say.

but here it is:

i keep picturing you on the swingset in the backyard —
i don’t give a crap how many likes this gets on facebook.

how can something be there & then not be there & how do we forgive ourselves for all the things we do not become?

i don’t have the answer for you but if you call me
i will not tell you a white lie. instead

i will write you a new sky, one full
of cotton candy clouds you can actually taste

i will write you letters, notes on paper airplanes, napkins
& lemon rinds to fill the distance between here & there

i will write you mountain tops & waves that crash on the west coast &
your toes on whatever beach you want & parakeets & songs;

i will write you songs & sing them badly because i can write words
but the good Lord knows i can’t sing them

& then i’ll pray that you’ll sing with me & pray
that you’ll dance with me. we can do that badly together too.

i will write you a body bursting with life because it’s easier to find balloons filled with hot air than doctor’s who aren’t but if you call me
we will find one of those too.

i will write you soft skin & sweet sleep & a hand to hold tight to when the floor slips out from under your feet

because you are on the brink of something beautiful
& i am so sorry if you can’t see it yet

i am so sorry if you don’t believe it
& i am so sorry i am so sorry

i am so sorry there’s no way to white lie our way around this so you need to know that when i say i love you i am not just saying it to fill the silence

i am saying it in hopes that there is none; even if you don’t say it back this time or the next time or the time after that

because eventually we will fill the space between your ribs
with enough love you will start to believe you’re worth it

& that’s the truth

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