I say I’d like to see you
if we’re already talking
and so close at hand—you 
with Shel, me walking in
circles, slipping on loose
pavingstones—my plan
is to articulate something final
not what I want but, I hope,
delivered in person with an
urgency, a gentleness, that 
on the phone would be lost
it’s not a cold feeling 
but it’s not exactly warm
(I’m expecting, too,
in the twenty-seven days apart—
physically, at least—
from you new coolness, new 
distance—making your escape)
but when I round the corner
it’s obvious why you didn’t
want to see me: only because 
of what happens when we 
come together. I can tell
right away you want to kiss
but I don’t know what to do
so instead I take the hand
that is offered to me, walk
with you, and Shel, for 
over an hour in the cold
(it’s only the air) feeling
your warmth. when I mention
Gottman you lean into me
so neatly I feel like I’ve
won the lottery. I say
I have to move on, pretend
this is final—but know,
right away that my words
seem empty. I think you
can tell. we make out right 
there. I walk you back
late for my appointment
I don’t know what to say
in front of your door, want 
to say only the perfect 
thing, something gentle but 
also persuasive. I won’t
let go. Shel is wild on his
leash when we kiss. we kiss
again. I don’t want to go 
want you to invite me up
even though I need to leave
instead turn around, watch
you fumble with the door
while Shel tries to pull you
to the backyard. looking
at your face before you
turn away, I think, “is 
this the face of the woman
who will break my heart?”

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