The Words Between Us


When you read the same sentence
in a book, do you, I wonder,
think the same thoughts as I? Does
your mind conjure the same
image of the maiden with red locks
and fretful stare or
do you see her another way as if
we had two different sets of eyes not
the same I always pictured when thinking
about us and the way our strides are
so alike, the way our noses both turn sideways
a little crooked to the right, the way
our chins both have that little indent
a blurb below our mouths that both
smile the same when the other steps
into the room.

I know you’ve read this book, the one
I read under the covers next to you,
your left thigh warming my small cold body
until I am comfortable enough to turn another page
and read the part about the ship lost at sea
and the drowning men and the girlfriends and wives
and mothers and sisters they left behind and I know
you read that part and for a moment I turn to you
and think to ask what you felt
what you thought about those pages
that give so intimate a description
of sinking, losing breath slowly and inevitably
lungs collapsing, a forgone conclusion, but my
lips, thin like yours, press together and I decide
not to interrupt the story you read beside me
because I know you must have
thought what I thought.

What Are You Thinking Right Now?

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