When a boy tells you he loves you by Edwin Bodney

When a boy tells you he loves you
it’ll be the first time you hear this.
It is late and he isn’t even here to tell you this in person but instead
from a car ride home from a bar in Chicago, he is there on business.
And of course you will smile because he sounds like he means it.
Because you believe him, because a boy has never handed those words to you like
crushed blackberries in the palms of his hands, firm, young, full
waiting to taste sweet with you.
His arms, creeping vines begging to touch the sun and your face saying,
“Here, take everything I have ever touched to be closer to you.”
His breath, waiting to be folded into a love note passing in between
the nape of your neck and his front teeth.
He will remember the time you told him you felt safe in his mouth
and he will never grow hungry…just distant.
When a boy tells you he loves you, you will hear music,
the voice of your past lovers dancing up your throat,
Your stomach in after-hours cabaret still waiting on the last call.
That was when you learned that when a boy says I love you
he means I am getting ready to be inconsistent with you now.
This boy will tell you that he loves you,
not long after he had you waiting for two hours in front of a cocktail lounge
Patience is something you were working on but no…not for him.
When he asks for you to tell him that you love him back
you will be in the car, in the parking lot of a late night diner.
You will watch the words fall into your lap like a spilled glass of white wine.
You will remember the day your courier pigeon heart got lost in the wind
because that was a message it did not know how or where to carry.
And one by one the boys have fallen as silently as the birds do.
So eloquently they used to speak until I ask the questions that broke them into ghosts,
that bled me into a corpse with so many questions of my own for the soil.
But their tongues do not know simple. The things I should be hearing,
the things that will make us living men in this time of insatiable yet dying lovers.
When a boy tells you he loves you only to become silent
like a folded sheet of tissue paper,
not wanting you to decrease him into the truth,
do not crack your face into the fullest crescent moon
at the tapered bottom of a blackened sky.
He never meant a single word of any of it.
He is just a boy remember?
He is just another silly sad boy,
remember?

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