p r o b l e m

"I have a problem," you said, and as they hit the ground the words grew like seeds planted. "I have a problem," you said, "but I don't have it when I'm with you." 

Well, the part about me fell away like chaff. But the part about you took root between us, deep and undeniable. In time it forced its way up, splitting the sidewalk until we could not walk to one another without stumbling.

"I have a problem," you said, and the words swelled in the summer heat, higher and higher until they were as tall as the Hollywood sign. Until they were tall enough for you to climb right inside and hide from me there, whenever I looked too hard. Whenever I loved too hard. 

You left, but the shells of one word remain. I can see your ghost sometimes, in one or another letter. 

I can see you in the P, waiting at the gate, your thumbs hooked under the straps of your backpack.

I can see you in the M, how you kicked all your limbs out across the bed at night.

I can see you in the O, curled senseless and lost to me, around the thing you couldn't escape.

And so on. But it's just an illusion; it's not actually you. Tourists don't know, until they try, that they can't really get to the Hollywood sign. And now I know I can't really get to you.