It would be an untrue kindness
to say it started innocently enough
when we both knew otherwise.
I asked you to walk with me
to the side of the building
hidden by shadow and irregular trees
where we could speak freely
about dandelions and reverse-image suns.
As intended, the conversation ended
and the sidelong glances
into distance and unlit corners began
and we became exciting people once again;
but from the moment we caught our breath
there was a redefining;
a subtle sickness of stomach,
the ebb of coherence
so that even our false selves
had lost whatever fragment of innocence
that might still have remained.
because we belonged to no one indefinitely
there was a steadying, a recovery,
liars made well by ill-given pardons
our pathetic espousals applauded
by the rhythmic clapping
of lime gloves in an artificial darkness.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.