I crinkle my nose.
I reserved judgment for a time well before we met.
I already know how this moment tastes in my mouth,
as I’ve imagined it before.
Smooth, coy, alternative, messy and perhaps musky.
And I already know I don’t like the way his smile curls,
Just so, almost friendly but a pinch too suave.
I pressed my tongue against my teeth, gritted,
raise my voice half an octave, and give false charity to a face.
It’s already happened in my mind, in slow motion,
although now it passes before I notice it happening.
There is no time for new analysis, no time for decisions renewed;
they have been made, and they are enough.
A compliment flies past my ear, I pretend bashfulness:
It’s not my first time riding Humbleness at the rodeo.
A falsetto laugh, a wrinkled nose, toothy grin aside,
I am a viper in deception.
I mimicked not knowing anything about him,
spoke as though I’d never heard a malicious thing he’d done,
touched his arm earnestly as though we were long lost friends,
and in my mind I vomited the counterfeit bile my body
longed to release into the dishonest void,
cleansing me of this disparate attitude
and healing a forked tongue.


Lying beside my friend
I glanced sideways at her
and I said,
“I want to kill myself,”
the first time I said it out loud.

Her cheeks flushed,
embarrassed that I had uttered
the unutterable phrase and
determined that she
should not agree
with what I had to say.

“Everyone wears a mask,
I’m tired of them hiding,
I’m tired of hiding,
and I’m taking mine off

Her mouth opened to reply
to my bizarre, out of the blue
statement; her parted lips
spoke softly, soothingly,
devilishly calm:

“I guess I should also remove
the mask I have been wearing.
I don’t know how I’ve tolerated
your antics and dramatics
for this long.

“You telling me this, comes as
no surprise.
The look in your eyes
says you were not expecting
me also to have a disguise.
But do you see my face now?”

I did see it, but I made no sound,
rather, I began looking all around
searching for her discarded disguise
looking for the place
from which she drew her lies.

How long had we held this façade?
I wanted more than ever
to drain my own life flow
for this madness to be over
and never again to know
how it feels to be led astray.

While my lips frowned, hers smiled
with a kind of indescribable glee.
“I see I’ve caused you pain,
you silly selfish girl – for all
along you’ve seen yourself
but have you ever looked for me?

“You assumed I’d never wear a mask –
you assumed the best.
Your assumption, should it waver,
You still held in trust.
Do you not wonder if I am hurt
by your dishonesty also?”

I hadn’t.