Poetry

Absence of “Too”

When you say   
“I love you Quille”   
I feel my heart tingle 
As my mouth refuses to open 
   
Your mom laughs  
As if she can see the discomfort   
Seeping through my pores 
 
We were talking about nothing   
Driving to the grocery store   
AC blasting   
When you blurted those words  
    
It’s standard 
To repeat them 
Followed by a "too"   
  
As long as the feeling is mutual   
 
And it is 
  
But often   
My mind and mouth   
Don’t communicate   
  
Instead of saying it back  
I say   
"thanks?"  
  
You haven’t learned rejection  
 
My acknowledging you 
Is all you need 
To put a smile on your face  
  
The sting of not receiving back  
What you've given  
Doesn't hurt you  
 
At least  
Not today 
      
It's not easy for me to repeat  
Those words back  
   
It's not because I don't feel  
I don't know how  
  
Affection is not my best trait  
  
Love for me  
Is being active in your life 
  
Love for me is being here  
Sitting in this car  
With you and your mom  
  
Always here when you need me 
 
Rarely saying how much I care 
  
Love from me  
Is incomplete  
 
You deserve to hear those words  
And I’m robbing you of that  
  
I want to tell you  
I love you too  
  
Instead, I look out the passenger window  
Too afraid to be vulnerable  
Because expressing I care  
Is a language I haven't mastered  
And I don't want you to inherit  
My terminology 
  
So, I'm working on the courage  
To say I love you too  
  
Loving you 
Has earned its place 
In my journey 

Shaquille Telford
A millennial trying to understand love.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful poetry as always. You said 2x : I love you too.

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