I Will Let You Go

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I look.
Wrapped up in layers of you.
I hear your voice.
I feel you. Mostly I just feel you.
Don't even realize that's what I'm doing.
From way across the room.
It was hard being any closer than that.
Like drinking whiskey after 15 years sober.
Too much, too strong.

I am all here again, just like when you knew me before.
No layers of anesthetic between us.
And different too.
Now I am not so bold.
Gentle steps that will not disturb the peace I need like air.
Now I am not so accepting.
Swift motions that rapidly disengage from neglect.

Enough neglect in my life to last me.

And as I look and feel,
From across the room,
I just swim in this engagement.
Like I always have.

I don't realize until later,
This engagement,
Is still on your terms.
Is still in your time frame.
And after all these years I am still afraid to express what I want from you.
I am still too in awe of us to ask anything of you.

There's a tunnel in my heart that I have sectioned off.
Put away.
Keep untouched.
It's yours, always has been.
So now you must choose,
Either care for it,
Or I must take it back.

Once in a lifetime is not care-ful.
Once in a lifetime is not what I need.

Ah, need.
Fear is a reflex of need in me.
Something the rules prevented,

I have always touched you lighter than a feather,
I have been afraid to mar the illusion of our perfection.
I have always let what you could give be all I deserved.

But now.

I can't let you just go on like this.
I'm terrified that it is all you will allow.
For me to let you go on like this.

You live in my bones.
I don't know how.
And I can't abide that alone anymore.

I will not be your lover.
I swear to you.
That is not where this leads.
But you will either welcome me as your friend now,
Or I will let you go.

It will rip me into pieces. But I will let you go.