parlez vous

I learned you like a foreign language: the basics first, then desperately jumping ahead to what to say when I need help, phrases of sheer desperation. No matter how often I whispered your name it still felt foreign on my tongue and my lips never remembered at what distance you should be kept and there were no hard and fast rules for conjugating, consummating, complicating what you meant to me, what could never be translated. I laughed when you said you were an open book and your fingers traced the canyons of my shoulder blades but I should have been more careful, pulled out the map and traveler’s dictionary, because all along you’d been written in shaky script and some faraway dialect, and I had walked off the edge knowing only en chute libre that your words wouldn’t be enough to catch me.

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