Lies We Tell

Lies We Tell

Believe me…

I never lied through my teeth

except about your chili.

“Delicious,” I said, comparing it silently

to something served to the starving

in another world—

a small improvement over cold beans or rice.


And I wasn’t high on life

like I said I was when I came home

from the party smelling like incense

smiling as wide as a field of orange poppies

in Afghanistan.


Believe me…


I’ve never told a lie

that wasn’t first a courtesy,

like oil for a back door prone to squeak

in the middle of the night.


And let me be completely honest

this time—


I may not want you to answer with your truth

if it would hurt or change

the way I love you.


I’d rather believe that seeing her again

in the coffee shop

wasn’t the reason for your pause—

that it was the choice you were making

between the French roast and the Columbian

that slowed you down,

caught your tongue when you said,

“This shouldn’t be so hard.”


DeMaris Gaunt


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