qualia

Qualia

Please, do not pretend that I can read your mind;
I wouldn’t know how you feel,
I wouldn’t know how you’d want to make me feel.
And if you intend to keep me cold,
while your hands are colored heat,
your digits, as sands in the Sahara, then
wouldn’t remind me of thirst as much as the quenching.
Everything drifts closer, my dear, or drifts apart
or drifts away
— even continents. We cannot stay, we cannot linger
in this stasis for too long, not before
this qualia catches up to us,
and my red is not your red anymore.
Please do not pretend that I can hear your thoughts.
Please do not say “talk”
when what you mean is “quarrel.”
Do not say “dinner”
when what you mean is “argue.”
Just say it out right—
do not say “discuss”
when what you mean is “fight.”

There is a fine line between imagined daylight
and obvious night. There are things that you need to tell me.
There are things that need to be expressed, and not
by the flick of your hand, or the strike of your pen, or
your voice in distress running miles and miles of
electrical wires and some undeserved sentences.
I wonder,
where were your kisses when I needed them?
I need your red to be my red, again,
your pain to be my pain, and your joy to be my joy again,
your sorrow to be my sorrow and your delight as my delight again,
I need to know again. I need you to speak, I need you
to acknowledge that I am still there, somewhere
in the depths of your heart. I need to know that you care.
I need to know that I can still find
myself with each breath you release, with each
heaving of your chest, with each strand of your hair I comb in the
frail little bones that used to be my palms,
massaging every twist, every curl, every
intricacy, like the way you navigate me and my soul.
I need to know that I am not insane;
I need to know that I am not out of my mind.
Please do not pretend that I can hear your thoughts,
let me settle, or let me go, either way,
let me know.

— A. P.

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