Only Listens

You slump
in one of the chairs
up by the altar

looking out
at the empty room
not seeing

Kendra sits
beside you
back straight
eyes alert

and she says,
“you wanted
to talk to me
about something?”

you nod
rub your face
and start.

You watch her
as the words
you’ve hardly spoken

the story
in it’s entirety

slides foreign
and broken
from your throat.

She does not shrink
from the meaning
or the convulsions
in your voice

only listens

only listens

you told her
this was training
to tell an adult

and that’s true
but you should
have said

“we’re friends
and I just
wanted you
to know”

you love her

and the end
in your breath
your teeth.

“I just wish
there was an
‘I was almost abducted
by a pedophile
support group”
you say

you’re laugh
might have been
a sob

She spreads her hand
across your back

trailing warmth
across your shoulder blades

rubbing circles
with her thumb

you don’t look at her
knowing there’s a question
or maybe just concern
in her eyes

her mouth opens
without words

and your running
your tongue
across your dry teeth
and taste nothing

and you wonder
if you remembered
to pack your toothbrush
this time

and you wonder
if you’ll go back
to not talking about him
in the morning

but that night
you lay down next to Byron

on the stiff

they turn to you,
stretch out their arms

and you can’t see their face
in the dark

but you remember

the way
they press their forehead
into yours

and grin
their lopsided
open mouthed

and huff out
stuttering words
of greeting
and affection.

In the moonlit
they run their fingers
over the palm of your hand

and whisper,

the universe expanding
in the ellipses

your breath catches
your ears straining

someone sniffs
off to your left

and a boy
and girl
you don’t know

mutter sweetness
that ecos
across the sleeping bags

and you say,
“about that thing
I wanted to tell you”

not caring who else hears you
as you start the story

they coo
and whimper
and whisper
“I’m sorry”

and you don’t
if you said,
“don’t be”

but you think
you said,
“I love you”

which is good
because that’s what you