Side effect

It was one of those nights
where the phone 
and the distractions
couldn’t drain from me
the sharp ache of a feeling
I have no name for.
I have no space for.
I walked to the water’s edge
sought refuge among
the reflection of clouds
on the reservoir’s surface.
I see a man propose
to a woman in tears.
I stop to take a picture,
to preserve their moment,
to be a part of a love
that’s not my own.
For a moment 
I pretend
to know it.
Behind them
the clouds hang thick
covering a descending sun.
Stubborn in its want to be seen,
the sunset's rays emerge in fragments.
I let myself wonder about
the side effects
of falling 
without knowing what’s below.
There’s a certain kind of pain
that comes with the risk
in opening myself
without knowing how to close.
And I often wonder 
if this is what others feel
when they hope for 
that may not belong to them.
It's dark now. 
The clouds have grown thicker.
I assess the risk 
in letting people in.
I’m so used to the sharp ones
the ones that bring with them
unintended consequences,
unexamined intentions.
As I walk to my car
leaving behind the water 
and the newly engaged couple,
I wonder the side effects
of pushing people away
or of letting myself be seen.
I am unsure which consequence 
I'm more willing to live with.

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