Holding Back

Written January 23, 2010

A dimly lit basement corridor
lined with labs of chemistry.
We leave our own only to be
out of earshot of the subject
of the story Jamie tells me as
we walk and round the corner.
We reach the elevator and stop.
I’m listening, I’m listening, until—

My eyes travel upward and recognize
that black Bruins cap, turned backward,
a friendly face, cozier and warmer than before.
My breath catches, and I think my jaw’s a little slack,
and suddenly Jamie is making too much noise.

You’re here.

You, too, have found my awestruck eyes,
and I wonder if I’m the only one who hears
an unintelligible buzz from our conversers.
Their dull and muffled words are superfluous,
but social protocol forbids me to interrupt,
even for just a long awaited, “Hi…”

And as we stand inside the rising metal box,
I continue to miss you despite your presence.
Five weeks separation is not what hurts, I realize,
and innocent Jamie is not the real obstacle here.

I miss you, because we are not truly together
as long as my shields and inhibitions divide us.
The physical distance mattered little,
because even when our bodies touched,
I nervously held back from embracing you.
I’ve been forcing my absence for over two months.

Will you notice when I am whole with you again?
Perhaps I’m painfully afraid to lose you,
although I certainly will if I keep this up.
I might need a little help now that I’ve reappeared,
but the you and I, so comfortable and free,
circa October is what I’m hoping for from you.

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