For L

Part 1
I look like I’m punching myself.
“How many partners have you had?”
Nothing makes romantic or lexical sense.
Yesterday was young, and I was younger.

If I’m feeling nice, and if I care, I answer: “Does it matter?”

And if I’m feeling mean, I answer: “Well, if you’re going to ask,
you’re going to have to guess” because I like to see them squirm.
(Make me wriggle, will you.)

Part 2
“Suffering builds character”, he said.

So, great, I have a bunch of characters now, swimming
in my head. What do I do with them?

What builds love?
What builds a bearable loneliness?
Whose characters am I collecting,
shadows under my skin?

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