final words on love

the layered softness of her skin? forget it
was ever yours to touch, and if you touch it
feel it wither. this is best practice, an exercise
in mitigating future disappointment.

the whale’s smile in the warm curve
of her knee? It appears only when she sleeps
like this, just after, and never when she squats
to pee, or runs to catch a train.

if it tempts you, know that love is a vowel
in a verbal tug of war; a futile invocation
of an avoidable past, so common a tale
you could (you told her this on many occasions)

have written it yourself, but didn’t; a mediocre novel
materializing on her nightstand, then on yours,
and back again; a story you never intended
to finish, yet invariably do.