Her question wasn’t precise enough
to slip between the micro-fractures
of his walls.  His answer was vague,
soft like smoke, evasive, by default.
He took the question
            as social white-noise,
            not an ongoing ploy,
            not an authentic query
            into the state of his relations.
And perhaps he was right—
            perhaps it was innocuous:
 she returned to his answer
months later, circling it
with an attitude of shock—
shock – – which unbalanced him – –
(Who could say that – – she asked- – who)
wielding sharper instruments
this time, to cut through
his exoskeleton, probing
his responses, unsettling him,
to pry past him, past his resistance,
into the answer she wanted
(he thinks now) his answer to be:
(tell me, she said, tell me)
He had nothing
he could say;
nothing he knew
how to say.
(February 2013)

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