Soft

Old Hands
Photo by João Jesus

Is it my fault
my best days are gone?
That I strive more fruitlessly
with every effort?
I wasn’t enough.
I guess I could have been,
if I wasn’t so busy
pretending I was good
at pretending.

I know you knew —
since I’m making admissions —
knew I had more
to give.
Did you know I knew
too?
I held on to things you wanted.
You called them my gifts.
I know I’m supposed to be sorry,
but I can’t feel anything about that
yet.
Anymore?
There were “gifts” no one would receive,
which came first —
the questions:
“What are we celebrating?”
“Again?”
“Do I have to?”

Life is hard,
I have learned.
And I am soft.
Or just exhausted.
I have found my limit.
And even if I defined it for myself,
I learned where to draw the lines
from you.
Did I misunderstand something?
Probably, I suppose.
Inevitable, with so many questions
unanswered… unasked.
It kills me,

but softly.
It kills us, really
slowly,
like long drags on short breaks
not wanting to rush,
tip us off,
like frogs in the pot.
Nothing to get excited about
here.
But the heat is on,
and rising,
like we’ll learn to deal with it,
like it’s just a phase
and can’t keep going forever…

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