it is like this with love

it is like this with love_black and white

it is like this with love,
Nokyoung Xayasane

I see, I hear,
I feel you
drawing near.

But it is only
my imagination.

You are elsewhere
in another city
with another person.
You are happy
and you are living a life
of your own choosing.

Once, we used to live
within five minutes
of each other.
But we never
saw each other.
We rarely spoke.
I loved someone,
and you loved someone.
I was trying
to move on.
I was
earnestly trying
to move on.

When I moved
to Toronto,
you visited me
for coffee.
We were both
an hour late.
We both blamed
the traffic.
The traffic, you said.
The TTC, I said.
You had not changed.
When I speak
with you
it is
as if
we are
the only two people
We are
the only two people
fumbling and falling,
trying to understand the world
and the people
within it.

when my chest
feels heavy,
I think of your face.
You are always
and smiling.
You are always
and wise
and gentle.

I remember
when you first touched me.
You reached out
with a wavering hand,
and you touched
my shoulder.
It was full of
and fear.
I was amused
by the way
you touched me.
It was
as if
l was something
But now I think,
it was you
who was afraid
of breaking.

I admit,
I wanted to tarnish you.
I wanted to blacken
your lily-white skin,
your large blue eyes.
I wanted them
to see me
as I was
in all my ugliness
in all my beauty,
in all my desperate yearning
to know
and to understand
I wanted to rip open
the covers
and read the words inside,
but I put that book down,
I put it down,
There was always
something about you
that remained unknowable.
There was always
something about you
that I wanted
to keep safe.
it is like this
with love.

And when I think of you,
I think of the summer light,
and the orange afterglow
inside closed eyelids,
I think of
cotton candy at the fair,
laughter at the park,
I think of a child
opening presents
full of wonder
and despair.

Many things
have changed,
I know.
Many things
that were done
in anger and anguish
cannot be undone.
There have been
new jobs, new people,
but they have all
come and gone.
It is you
who remains.
It is you
who is
for me.
It is you
who I love.
After all this time,
I love you, still.

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