People Like You, a poem

illustration people like you

People Like You

I’ve known a lot of people over the years, hundreds

in fact, and I’ve made it my serious business to know them

extremely well, both inside and out; it’s what I do,

it’s what I like to do, quite possibly it’s what I do best —

but in all this time, I’ve only stumbled across two people

like you in my entire life, there’s just you and him,

two truly dangerous human beings, two walking disasters,

two men obviously wounded so deep inside

that even after it was over, even after

examining all the mixed-up feelings I’d coaxed

out of us both; shoveling and pouring them

into the leaky jar formed from all our human needs;

even after the feelings had settled into pretty layers

of sand and sediment organized by density;

even after I poured over that the shimmering crystal

water of my tears, (not just the real ones I cried,

but the ghost ones you always wished you were able to shed)

I did not hold you responsible for your actions.

Not a bit.  I had my eyes open from the very first

moment I heard your voice.  I freely allowed you

to hurt me, I asked for the pain to be given to me,

then I made excuses, I made allowances, I forgave you,

and I am not very often a forgiving person.

Ask anyone who knows me well.  Rather, I hold a grudge;

it is how women are as a race, I am told;

and I am told I am a woman.  Do you think I am a woman?

Do I look like one?  The private physics of our bodies

differs — does that create a real disparity in power

or just a real disparity in perception?  You point always

to the internal risk of damage women carry within them.

You say, men do not have to fear women the same way

women have to fear men.  With good reason, you have helped me

to learn this — now there is nothing left to do but file

your memory away forever, attach the bright red warning

stickers that proclaim for all to see: hey, wake up,

look twice, look close, look long, we all know

people like this exist, they exist for a reason.

Do you mind if I ask again, if I pry one last time

where I am not wanted?  Oh, dear heart, what is your reason,

your sweet reason, your sweet reason for existing?

1 Comment

Filed under mysterious, poetry

One response to “People Like You, a poem

  1. We’ve all met these men. The real question, the unanswerable question, is why we remain vulnerable to them.

    Like

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