Say You Love Me

“I love you,” she says,
and my heart sinks.
Knowing what is required of me,
I attempt to reciprocate.
But it’s a struggle,
the words won’t take shape.
No other phrase is so hard to articulate;
no other sentiment is voiced so apprehensively.
I could be honest and say: I love you
but almost everything about you annoys me…
But somehow
those three precious, perilous syllables
are squeezed out, squeamishly:
“Isle… of you.”
It never sounds right when I say it,
but I say it
to put her at ease,
because what you get out of it,
temporarily,
is peace.

 

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