Selfishness

I am fixated by
the way your laughter
explodes despite your
half-hearted attempts to stifle;
I would like to be the cause.

I think of how your smile reaches
your eyes; creasing in such a way
that only increases your beauty, your
honesty, your
splendor.

I want to sit and share
myself; to learn
about you.
Where you come from,
how we are similar, how
we are different.

I daydream of us speaking,
but each time we draw near I
am flummoxed, confounded,
and all the other synonyms listed
in the thesaurus.

There is a flurry in my chest at
even the thought of your proximity.
I want to impress you, to find out if
these feelings are just flattering fancy or
if the connection I feel truly exists.

I have been fooled before; attraction
can be such a burden to bear,
especially when it is carried alone.

But I am selfish; or
have you not
been paying attention?

I haven’t thought about
what you want;
not even once.

by Erik Shinker

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In(Re)trospect

The beads of summer
sweat coated your upper lip;
a foil to the chilly
distance of
my heart’s malcontent.
Cheeks would blush.
Flushed.

Your hair, a
curtain of auburn mimicry,
brushed my brow with
each lustful kiss.
Pressure enough to
freeze time.

We marched through
our passion, always
just out of

step.

I wanted what was best; you wanted
me.
Burns and scars forced
me to pave the road to hell.
You never wanted to
hurt me,
just yourself.

How many have I pined after
in your wake?
How few reciprocated? How
could I replace what was
lost?
But a relationship cannot be
built on lies and
no matter how much I wanted you,
it just wasn’t
meant
to be.

I hardened my heart
in the hope of
saving yours.
I left you crying
amid the laughter of children
on that summer day.
Such promise; such potential
gone
because of my best intentions.
So many false starts, swearing oaths
I couldn’t help but
break.

I wanted you to get
better;
and you did (I think).
You met shortly after our split.
A decade later and
you’ve been together
through it all.
For what seemed an age,
I watched from afar and remembered
who we used to be.

Ten years on and we’re different people.
A gold band now tips the scale of your left hand
while the pair of mine remain
balanced.

It seems a
lifetime ago.
It might as well have been.
And the worst part is

I couldn’t
care
less.

by Erik Shinker