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by Clayton Sodergren
She came into my room and sat next to me on the couch
We’d had this talk once before
At important parts in the conversation, I turned to look at her
But mostly I stared forward, watching raindrops coalesce on the tree outside my window
I let long periods of silence
stretch between the sentences
and punctuate the words
I did not want to say.

I bared more of myself than I meant to,
more than I wanted to,
but not more than she already knew.

Reopen the wound
let thought and mental energy flow
and clot like blood.

Don’t pick at it
don’t let it fester under your skin
cauterize shut the hole in your heart.

When I saw her next, we sat on the couch in my room and watched TV, like we sometimes did
A good 12 inches between us this time.

As she got up to leave, she gave me an unsure smile
before her eyes flicked back down.

She said something I didn’t catch
but I pretended to know what she meant
my goodbye, forced and falsely cool, hung in the air
I watched the door swing shut behind her
spring-loaded, always ready to close.

After she was gone, I walked around my room for a minute
moving things that didn’t need to be moved
and wondering if what I had missed had meant anything.

Clayton left the bay area in May of 2014. Recent rumors suggest that he is currently wearing a hat. Contact him at claytoner@gmail.com.

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