pleasant as the shadow of a parlor trick

we pass the snack bowls to and fro like a

self-playing billiards game.


and though we both pretend the other doesn’t

act like someone else when company is over

we can think of little else amid the chatter.


how we become more and less ourselves

the longer we abide beside each other aging

dawdling, fiercely striving when the other


is not watching


when we are not watching ourselves


striving to be essential to the story of we

not dispensable like a character but permeating

like a theme


so we thread ourselves differently into the plot

each time we tell it to ourselves again.


we’ve overwritten every word in that book

so many times that anyone but you or me

would see it as just one long solid scribble

of redaction, as if we had something to hide

and nothing to reveal.