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?