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Ellis Paul

Love's Too Familiar a Word (poem)

from: Live
I stepped into the room late last night
because late is the time I keep
you were sleeping warm as coal
in a pocket of comfort and white sheets

but you don't startle anymore when I step into the room
though the hour is later than midnight
and neither window can place a moon.

"I missed you," you say
and it sounds like a promise
when whispered half asleep
your skin still damp with sweat
from thoughts your dreams refused to keep

I follow my memory to a switch on a light
"Shut your eyes" my voice cut short
when darkness turns bright

"Do you love me?" you say
but love is too familiar a word
for in this bed 10,000 times a phrase already heard
but, "Yes, I love you" speaks my reply
though I know I failed myself and you for not
matching how I feel with words of higher wealth

I know its lonely in the world tonight
because here is more than what's deserved
and the imbalance can't be summed in black and white
because love's too familiar a word.

Copyright Ellis Paul Publishing