Held

She’s staring at the clock again,
Holding herself close.
Through red numbers it mocks her
With what she fears most.
Entangled in limbs,
She musters a grin
Over the terrible ticking
Of Panic within.
So tremblingly she crawls
Through a forest of sheets,
Shamefacedly hiding
Evidence of defeat.
She needs to express
Feelings of tenderness,
But she’s already actually
Three-quarters dressed.

But she doesn’t want to be held;
She’s hiding a secret too deep to tell.
She’ll let you love her,
If just for tonight,
But she’ll disappear forever
By morning’s first light.

He’s left clutching the vision
She’s left in her wake:
Of angels, of demons,
Of beauty incarnate.
He’s hopelessly infected
With the love she’s injected,
With the turbulent, tormented
Girl she’s protecting.
“Where are you going?” he’ll ask her,
Naked, alone in bed.
“I have to go,” she’ll say simply,
Lightly kissing him on the head.
Out of the door by ten,
“Don’t worry, this isn’t the end.”
And quietly, silently whispering,
“Maybe just friends.”

But she doesn’t want to be held;
She’s hiding a secret too deep to tell.
She’ll let you love her,
If just for tonight,
But she’ll disappear forever
By morning’s first light.

She’ll give you a taste,
Vanish without a trace,
And whisper it’s only
Her need for space.

WrittenMarch 2004

Author's Note

If the meter reminds you of Ani Difranco’s “School Night,” then you’d be right, as I was listening to it a lot when I wrote this.