the man who doesn’t read his poem | silke feltz
The Man Who Doesn’t Read His Poem
His hair is sandy blond and some confused salt and
pepper stubbles twitch like flirty surprises in his chin.
When he skips his shaving routine on the weekend, they
dance each time his lower lip wave breaks into a smile.
He smiles often but he rarely laughs, and an ocean-deep
thoughtfulness surrounds him every time I’m near—
every time I’m near the man who doesn’t read his poem.
He vainly plucks his gray chest hairs before enjoying
an all-inclusive resort vacation and he bathes on some
Mexican beach, kindly asking the taco technician for
the best taco in the world. It makes me sad, when he
plucks those grays, and I mourn them like tiny deaths. To
me, they are reminders of the people who made him into
the man he is today. (I might be one of them, but) still, he
plucks me out of his chest, this man who doesn’t read his poem.
Words of affection hardly ever venture out of him and when I
press, he clams up like my childhood treasure box that snaps
shut so quickly you fear your fingers might get stuck in it. But
when he does share a tender thought, it’s so sweet and almost
unbearably beautiful that the whole world stops for a second.
He’s mine but not really mine. Maybe he’s more like an
ongoing dream; the man who just won’t read his poem.
His poem is sixteen lines long. When leaves began to sail
to the ground and my days sighed in shorter spurts, I wrote
his poem and I tweaked my words until I sent them off on a snowy
Christmas Eve. I wrapped the word, gift, into the heart of his
poem and my own heart was beating fast while I would wait,
and wait, and wait for him to read the very poem he would
simply never read. The man who tells me he wishes he had a
magic wand so he could find out what would happen to us
if we tried, the man who tells me he belongs to me, the man
who tells me nobody quite understands him as deeply as I do,
the man whose warming words I fiercely cherish in my
feelings trunk, neatly tucked away so they will be mine forever—
this man is the man who is not ever going to read his poem.
One Sunday morning after waking up to birds chirping outside
my bedroom window and feeling his sensitive stubble
brush along the roundness of my shoulder, I felt a little bit
brave and so I asked the man who will never read his poem
if he deleted his sixteen lines by now. He shook his head,
he smiled, and his teeth slowly began to sink into my skin.