Masked

Tension in my jaw
and I’m not sure if it’s the mask requirements
or because I’ve not said I love you;
the words stuck like gunk in a rusty hinge,
squeaks when I think of you.
I never said I love you even when
you lay outside the kitchen door at 5 something am
with your curls on the floor and hips floating.
I didn’t say I love you when I picked you up
and dumped you on the bed I didn’t say I love you when
I got you a glass of cold water – I thought about it when
you sipped and slipped into sleep with your hand on my chest
and my leg trapped between yours. I thought about it when you paused,
looked at me and said
you know I think you’re handsome don’t you
with your hand on my left cheek,
I think about it whenever I remember your belly laugh
from that dirty joke I made, the way you wheeze and forget to breathe.
I thought about it when I was in a different city exhausted by everyone else
I think about it whenever we don’t speak, like last July
I thought about it before, during and after the kiss in August;
Now September’s come too soon and like the flowers of Paris you too will be gone.

Start of Autumn in Paris

Sat outside a bar near Pigalle,
with autumn painting the earth
caramel and sky lilac,
the space between is a sweet wrapper
sticky and crisp like toffee,
bartenders get us drinks not on the menu +
we talk about the French and how they stare,
how they hold eye contact two seconds too long
how they say excusez moi after they’ve
flung you across the metro
and how the women are pencil thin and the men straw,
we laugh. and in between gunshot mopeds and
bicycles with tiny baskets, we see congregations
ebb and flow and we stare too long.