Volume To

Lately your voice has gotten so much quieter
when we talk.
I don’t believe you’ve grown
any more timid.
I am afraid that you’ve become afraid
are walking on eggshells
believe you fear you might crack me open
with an errant angry word.

You keep suggesting
softly, tentatively
ever so carefully
that I open up
become a less protected soul.
You want to help me
seem to know me
which is all I’ve ever wanted,
I think
and you ask why I don’t let go
to just be brave

before you leave.

You always leave.

And of course you are walking on eggshells
that I’ve carefully collected

cultivate decade after decade
strengthening a wall of weakness
an accurate although mixed metaphor.
You are careful, supportive, warm,
helpful, encouraging,
suggesting you care
but I can see
it will never be enough
and I will not get what I want
when you leave
so it is just as well
that you’ve turned down the volume
to three
and are so delicate around me
for neither of us
is quite sure
with just which word
I will finally shatter.

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