i know it was
a mistake. but
your cheeks red
and freckled like
apple skin and
your laugh spilling
out of the phone.
and the way
you kept smiling
after the joke was
over. that you
made the first
joke i’ve heard 
from you in months.
then a second. then
a third.

i know it was
a mistake so
it’s fine. link
arms with your
lover. say you
are in love. pack
up your thinning
childhood. put
it away. leave
it open for me
because i know
it’s where you
want me. lidded
and out of sight.

i know you are
tired. i can see the
gray getting your
face before
your hair. but