He Does Not

He does not see me.
It demands a little
Or a lot —
This invisibility —
Practice silent steps
And keep it close to the bone.
He does not see me.
And I do not want him to see me.

He does not protect me.
Critical eye descends
And does not mince words.
Pulls me out of a dream,
And does not forgive
Mistakes easily.
He does not protect me.
And I do not want him to protect me.

He tells me the truth.
Kisses stolen
From wives and widows,
And all these temptations,
And all this old news,
Lingering loves and fingers on skin.
He tells me the truth.
And I do not want him to tell the truth.

He is not gentle.
Steel-marked fingers to bend
And pull.
And demands
That leave me weak-kneed,
Breathless in the aftershock.
He is not gentle.
And I do not want him to be gentle.

He does not paint me.
Words from the well
Tell the stories
Of the unnamed that repeat —
And I am grateful
To be hard to pin down.
He does not paint me.
And I do not want him to paint me.

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About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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