I was usually lying when we talked,
trying to figure out what you wanted to hear.
It was my main form of mental exercise,
Keeping that mythical universe straight.
The real world was green when we began
And I was terrified of being understood,
Unmasked, and pushed firmly away.
We were an oddly matched set of candlesticks.
Dogs both, I read books by the freight car load,
You used them to dress a room.
You never played any sport in your life.
Your father was a monster. Mine was a Dad.
Your mother was a victim. My Mom was a Viking.
Your siblings got beatings. Was that really true.
Impossible to judge. A manipulation?
Your other specialty was to gift me a Delphi Oracle answer,
holding the mirror up for me to see what I wanted,
permitting me to stuff the fool’s gold into my pocket,
the one with the hole in it. The clarity of mud.
Maybe I was hoping to get caught,
Or gathering plot incidents for the novel
I was too damned lazy to write.
One day I realized one enormous truth
That explained a ton of moments of extreme unction.
You had million dollar taste and a sixty thousand dollar income,
Producing megatonnage stress in your life. And mine.
But then I sat down over a coffee and added up
Your list of deceptions involving
Your son and your other boyfriend.
And your best friend who drove you a little crazy
In her neediness, her long climb back
From a thermonuclear divorce.
We were in your bed cooling down like the desert slipping into night
When your other guy, the lawyer called
And you soothed him on the phone
Trying to erase his hellish day.
I sat on the other side of your bed,
Studied your back and the back of your head
In the shadows of your bedroom.
It was winter outside.
I listened to your sweet, understanding words.
Then I tried to think carefully to decode
The lies you must have been telling me.
How did we arrive at this fiction.
When could we put it back on a shelf