Last updated on January 26th, 2019 at 07:38 am

When I am with you…

I don’t get why my tongue gets tied sometimes

How my throat gets bone dry like parched soil

Why I unwittingly try to impress you

Or how I can’t seem to string together a sentence

I often carry my emotions tightly wound in my chest

and held stiffly at the tip of my tongue

Afraid that if they rolled out

the words would empty me

And leave me out to dry

I am learning slowly but never quite fast enough

How this whole ‘feelings’ thing really work

I know it runs amok in labyrinths

doing merry-go-rounds and playing deceit

As kids we say what we feel

and what we feel we say

We sure held nothing back

We were so brave then

We age not only by number

but also by cowardice

Now we just have feelings choked and dumbed down

stifling it till we are numb

and slapping ourselves hard just to make sure

Before we tell ourselves we are whole again

Is this the way fragile hearts try to beat away their pain?

I’ve learned to run away like I’ve learned to read

second nature and instinctive not skipping a beat

All that went wrong has left me cold

I have taken the sins of past lovers

and dumped them in your arms to cradle

By the time we die we are curled in a fetal position

bent by fear and loathing of ourselves

The ashes cry and make unfulfilled wishes in the wind

I want my words to be naked

not cloaked in velvet lace

I’d like to think that we weren’t trying to fill an invisible void

that when we were together a part of us wanted to be

Teach me how to fall where I know how to pick myself up

so I can dust myself off and learn to fall again

just like when we were kids

by Joy Yap


image: illustration of boy and girl via Shutterstock