The first time I saw your shoulder,
peeking like a Muslim under her hijab,
I looked away, like I had never seen
a shoulder before, like I had never
wondered what secrets my lips would
find in the pockets of your collarbone.
The first time I saw your bellybutton,
I knew it'd be the most of you I'd ever see.
I knew you'd be chalked up as a loss,
like everyone's first kiss, like every
adult's young aspirations.
And though I never saw the parts of you,
hidden precariously under single layers,
I still saw you, more guarded than your
body's secrets, dipping your toes,
chipped green polish, into the trust
of another man.
Overwhelmed, I say, "I love you"
because I have too much of an
affair with my phone to articulate
what I'm really feeling.
And after I see your hand, for the
first time in years, grasping for
what we once were, I say it again,
"I love you," realizing that love
is a verb we're all misusing.