I know what you will say—

So, I speak instead to change

the direction of your subject

before you think to speak

Too often I use language

as a shield to deflect

the slashing barrage

of each day’s small talk

I natter through scripts

only I can hear, tumbling

variations into possibilities

from the obscure to the germane

Social cliches constrain 

conversation from becoming 

too much to hold us together, 

and too little to tear us apart

(March 7, 2023)

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