The Laughter of the Damaged

She tells me that
She loves spin class,
Corona,
All the Marleys
(Bob, Ziggy, Jacob)
As we walk down by
The riverside
Towards twilight.

She is young,
But not so carefree
As she’d have me believe:
The setting sun dances
Off her red hair,
And she laughs often
In the manner of someone
Who used to do it a lot
But has kind of forgotten how.

And it feels like
An audition,
Or maybe an interview,
Instead of a date.
I ask her if she has siblings,
And it turns out she has four,
All sisters.

After a minute,
She turns to me
With a smile and says

Thank you for dinner.
I haven’t been on a date
In a long time.
But you’re nice,
And it’s pretty out here.

She’s lovely, really,
And my heart goes out to her
For something she’s not saying.
So I say

“I’ve enjoyed this.
I really like you.
It feels, though, like
You are sad for some reason.”

It’s that obvious, huh?

“Kinda”

I don’t want you to think
I don’t appreciate —

“I won’t think that.
I want to know what’s really going on”

And then
A song of a young woman’s love,
Like a melody
Transforming the listener
Even if it left the actual beloved unmoved.

“So how long has it been since?”

Nine months.
People keep telling me to date,
And you asked, so
I said yes.

It was my turn to chuckle:
“Even my dates
Aren’t really about me.
Well, I did ask.
And what’s real is real.”

I’m sorry

“It’s okay. Seriously.”

We walked along
Talking about a funny movie
We both loved.

The sun went down,
And we talked in the car for a few minutes,
Laughing a little more.

Then, I drove her home

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4 Thoughts to “The Laughter of the Damaged

  1. I can relate to this poem as I’m sure many can, but I love the way you’ve conveyed the sadness of a breakup that emerges when trying something new. This is a great piece of writing from beginning to end.

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