on a couch
a young woman takes my hand. Her face is comforting but I can’t think of why.
I’ve seen it before. Maybe in the mirror
She’s happy but her eyes are filling with tears.
To be polite maybe mine tear up, too.
I’m sitting on a red couch.
A woman my age who I don’t recognize speaks to me with a soft voice and kind eyes.
(I want to say queer things to her; tell her I love her)
But not in a gay way.
She makes a joke, a light-hearted comment. It’s fantastic. (What is?) But when I speak
the words fall out of my mouth like wet sugar. The thought that was so urgent dissolves
on my tongue and the words fall out of my mouth
I used to be smart. They’d say (but wouldn’t now) now.
She agrees and laughs. It’s indescribable. This kindred spirit. I tell her she’s beautiful.
A past self maybe.
We’re walking down the street and she squeezes my hand like a mother would.
Without thinking, I squeeze back and she says, “I like holding your hand,” and I am
“I was just thinking the same thing. I wanted to say that, that it’s so nice.” And now,
tearfully, I see what’s happening
andlife andlove andand come into my mind like oxygen to my lungs. And now,
choking back tears, I say, “Why can’t it just be like this? I mean we don’t need them, it
could just be us, like this
She should have agreed.
Our hands fit together so snugly; two pieces of cloth cut from
Image: Louise Bourgeois, Sutures, 1993
Steel, thread, rubber, needles, enamel pin
108 x 41 x 35 inches