This is not a love story 

She tried to tell him 

Her heart was not made for loving 

But he laughed and loved her anyway

He reached deep into the spaces

Where her mind played tricks on her

And told her she deserved only her thoughts 

As company 

He came and pushed these thoughts aside 

And took residence in the crevices 

Between her fears and her selfish needs

She tried to tell him 

Her heart was not made for loving 

She tried to show him that inside she was

Empty.

With nothing to offer but the sad remains of something resembling affection 

She tried to tell him 

He didn’t listen, and loved her still 

Even when at times she seemed only a shell of herself,

Retreating into corners and hiding in the silence 

Even when she wished only to drive him away

So that he might find some other heart who knew to love, and love entirely 

Even then he waited patiently, indulging her silences 

And held her until she came to learn what holding meant 

She didn’t know how to explain it— that there was no room in her for love

Not since she’d forgotten how to love herself 

But he knew, and told her without saying much, what loving really was

It was caring for a wreck like her, who could never love as much 

She tried to tell him 

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“The Practice of Civility”

I am Referee
Standing at a stance
Arms splayed open
To accommodate for the
Distance left between
The two of you
My tiger stripes stand for courage
To help me make the call

I am Peacekeeper
Consoling you while
I comfort her
Reassuring words pour forth
Time and again, recycled
Churning in my belly before
Spewing out to tell you that
“You’re right. Yes, of course. I know it’s not fair”

I am Healer
Holding on to the
Shredded love between
You, watching as it
Melts in strips through
Warm fingertips and you
Cling to my shoulder, shedding your
Troubles and your crocodile tears

I am Mediator
Once again between you while
She tugs and you shove
Neither to be outdone, eager
To have justice on your sides
But justice takes to the sidelines—
Vertigo and gravity make
For a better team

I am Counselor
Having to explain
The difference between
Being listened to
And being heard, yet still
You refuse to free yourself
Of the leash that Pride
Holds doggedly against you

I am Caught in the Middle
Ensnared in the back-and-forth
That is your life’s work
Praying silently for your silence
I close my eyes and wait
For one of you to lose interest
Who am I to stop you
When you’re at your best?