All the things I cannot say that hurt
swell and catch in my throat
whenever I am at the playground
trying to talk to the mother
of my son's best friend
that he has met two minutes ago.
With parched mouth, I
manage to make sounds like words
that mean nothing and lead nowhere.
"How old is your son?"
"How long have you lived here?"
"What do you like to do
in the spare time you do not have?"
In that arid, aching exchange, I
remember why I line my life
with books, the friends that
make no bones about what they are,
that do not bother with banal,
that will be your lifelong friends in two minutes
so long as you venture to give them your
into the ages,
the friends that say all the things that hurt
and watch as they swell, catch in my throat,
and push upward into the smokeless air.