Lies We Tell
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
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
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.”