Home > Poetry, Writing > Good Girl Smile

Good Girl Smile

I left you my number
on a sugar packet. It was a silly habit
born of scribbled secrets: an offer
written down
on something sweet,
something easy to open,
something that will make you think
of me. Throw it away,
and it won’t matter. There are always
others clamoring for attention. It won’t hurt.
(Much.)

I left you my number,
never expecting your call. Never hoping
that I’d hear your voice. When I did,
I wondered what changed,
what little-big thing had removed
itself from your way. I pictured her face,
and a handful of other faces, voices
I’d never heard came shifting
into my consciousness. Most people
would stop then. Most people
would walk away. Most would keep that
good girl smile.

I am not most people.

By the time I realized my mistake, it was
too late; I’d come too far
only to realize I’d been walking backwards
with you, your hand in mine, growing colder
and more distant by the minute. Eventually,
I relaxed my grip and felt your fingers disappear.
Most people would give up then. Most people
would cut their losses and run. Most people
would keep that lesson close.

I am not most people.

I wrote you a letter. This time, on paper.
My words were no longer sweet. No sugar
added, nothing quite so predictable; this was a missive
born of memory and need. I wanted you,
not caring what it might cost, what it might mean; you’d
already proven yourself unworthy, but that
I was willing to overlook. Most people
would be wiser. Most people would never forgive you.
Most people would not love such a fool.

I am not most people.

Years later, I remember too much. No rug
can hide all those words and whispers, the things
that howl like a wolf searching for its pack;
there’s no merit in looking for a single mate,
there’s no secret worth knowing that badly.
This is something you taught me, a lesson
I did not want to learn. I struggled against it.
I fought it with teeth and soul, sharpened
to a bloody, emotional point –
but I left you my number, again,
written on a sugar packet for old time’s sake.

I don’t stop to wonder
if you’ll call; most people wouldn’t.
Most people would know better.

You are not most people.

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  1. Liz
    September 1, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Fantastic. And holy ****, do I relate to this.

    I am not most people either, apparently.. in terms of learning things the easy way.

    Brilliantly written, as always.

    • Ali
      September 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Thanks, Liz! I’m really glad that you liked this. *grin*

  2. Jessica
    September 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Oh man, YES. THAT. THAT EXACTLY.

    I very often have the urge to shout that out loud as I read your poetry. Inevitably, I will come to a line and declare “Yes, that’s exactly it.”

    This time, sadly, it was most of the poem, as I relate to the whole damn thing all too well.

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