After

You approached me after my set
in the way I knew you would.
Head down, quiet.
Timid.

You complimented my writing.
Described the ways you
liked my first piece,
the one with the numbers.
I wrote it knowing you would.

I wanted to know what it felt like
to sit and watch
as I stood in the light
reading words meant
for your ears alone.

You didn't offer me
feelings and
you didn't describe
your experience of
hearing poetry
clearly written
for you.

I looked to you
as I
read my last piece
and observe your reaction.

You looked sad
and serious
and you were leaning
into
each word.

You got the message.
As quickly as you leaned in,
you pulled away.
Perhaps in the only way you could.

I still hoped.
I hoped you'd feel
inspired
to make space
for the feelings between us.

I hoped
you’d say something to
challenge my perspective
on what happened
and did not happen
between us.

I offered the chance,
multiple opportunities.
I hung around until you left.
I made myself available
as I did from the moment
I introduced myself to you.

“Your writing is beautiful,”

you said.

I know. I know it is.
My mind is, too.