This isn’t a come-on, but –
he says, and you wait for something so clichéd
there should be a grammatical case for it –
the unbelievable inevitable,
perhaps, or way past tension:
the sense it’s all been said before,
with better lines and timing.
You could have been a model,
he says, and you’d like
to believe him, but you think
I’m not the model you’re looking for.
So you cringe,
but not because of how you look in the mirror.
Between his lines, you see what
you’d earned the right to stop being –
the Waitress who Sits Down With her Customers,
the Loyal Friend Beside the Moving Van,
the Wife Who Wouldn’t Leave.
Call it the present since – you knew better.
Even if you’re still not sure how to say it,
it’s not this, whatever he thinks it is,
and when you say
Would you like to get out of here?
to his unspoken need, it’s only to say:
written sometime in the early 2000s