My entire life has been informed by the absent space between us; not the physical space but more the distance of my language. The distance of my touch; pressing, firm, direct, too blunt. Aloof and across the room but glowing. The warmest I’ll get is further away. They’ve memorized the muscles of my back.

They’ve memorized my pout and the echo of my cry filling cavern carved by the sound of my heels tapping on a floor, retreating. Longing, and the way I succumb to holding, or allowing touch, recrudescent and poxed by them after a period of silence. Tarred by them, marked after a period of respite.  Short, yet influential. A period of cavern and them memorizing the color of my shoulder blades in the sun. I’m tall and olive and taut from tension. Always desperate for the light of distance. Spoked.  Tall, moving forward and wrought with tension.

 I am strolling when I see them. I am even sauntering til I see them. Unfortunate timing of a hip.  I am thinking til I see them then one constant vision seeing  tunnel, a way past. Emptied, but not quite that: automatic. Spurred by instinct. Moved by force. The pervading eyes and I am (smiling) seeing the space close in around me again. Lifeless, watching the move of a hip from enriched by dance to torpid.  Dragged by shell. I’m a shell.

  Inside a buzzer goes off telling me to clench my jaw, to tighten my shoulders. Hip goes from bouncing to dead frozen in nervous. (That means it might shake sometimes).  The way there was once twenty feet between us. Suck in and walk straight. Swaying til I saw them.  Don’t trip. Ticking from nerves, looked gaily upwards til I saw them. Don’t look.  A pleasant thought crossed me right before I saw them.  My most pleasant thoughts are false memories. Reverie. That means I imagined the most pleasant experience of my life. Suddenly there was ten feet (I am smiling), then five feet (in reverie), then one foot. Suddenly the hand on my shoulder, on my middle back, the ubiquitous trail down my lower back. He towers, “you’re too pretty.”  I am smiling in front of a huddled mass. So many of them with their fingers out filling the space between us. I am smiling. Smile. They are reaching for me, touching me, trailing their uncut fingernails down my tucked in blouse and there is nothing underneath or inside of me. I am not there. But I can hear the chorus:

“You are too pretty to frown.”

“The Men”

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