How nice that you would say
like a greeting card thoughtfully
chosen from a massive
wall of sentiment that
I am acceptable and my
company pleasant.
How nice to be among the
millions for whom those
words were scripted and
polished, made emphatic
with gilding and glossy picture.

I smiled and moved
to tuck it away, secure and
harmless in its casing, crisp
and white, protecting the
perfect corners and
mannequin words, almost missing
the note inside, overlooked
in knowing all you had to say.

I took it barely, just the edge, its
substance creased and
softened to cloth by
years carried in your pocket.
I read it twice,
as if my eyes were unsure
of themselves when confronted
with penned words, their stark,
chosen reality, the move of
each like DNA,
your undeniable imprint.

I saw then, the lines of
ink gone easy with age, long
enough for you to know me
and still mean them; I read
again and believed. I came apart.