Thrift Store Reunion by Lannie Stabile

I thought I was collected enough
that if we should ever collide,
I would smile politely,
fill in events from the missing years,
ask about your family,
look at photos of your daughter,
and leave clear of conscience.
After all, it’s been ages.

I never even considered cowardice.
Just being near you…
my skin, sensitive flint,
set fire, recalling your steel countenance.
My heart, pounded into gummy weakness,
crawled through each rib, attempting escape.
My throat wrapped around itself, squeezing,
as if your long hands were there again.

Instead of maturely, sanely engaging,
I wept and shattered and shrunk
and shook and clenched
and stung and panicked and cringed
and buckled and revived
and pined and grieved and cursed
and burned and brightened and stifled
and remembered and ran.

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