Don’t say that word—goodbye
the air around here
is bad enough without it.
It stings my eyes
like drops of acid
on my skin
and there’s more than enough
noise pollution
in my mind
to labor my breathing.
Only the reality of you
is keeping me here.
So crush that cigarette
on the ashtray.
Open a window.
And slowly,
I will purify the atmosphere
of your soul’s
by removing myself from it,
a little at a time.
No, let’s not have any
of those
drawn-out ceremonies
of farewell.
The sadness of it
will only break us
and make us seek
the solace of each other
and we’ll be back
to square one.
When it ends, it ends.
we can protect ourselves
from unnecessary hurt
by keeping up the masquerade
until my presence runs out.

Let’s spare our hearts
and not give names
to the reasons why,
nor dwell on
possible verbal escapes
that we know would fail anyway.
Let’s not buy any more
we’ve already run out of it.
You and I
are of words,
but words are not needed here.

So let us resort to
all-encompassing smiles
and hide in their ambiguity;
use solemn nods
and poker faces
to push our way through
the vagueness and the crowd
towards the open balcony
with its precious air
and mute stars.
Keep humming
those borrowed love songs
under our breaths
so we can pretend not to notice
that we’re drifting apart
there is nothing
of us left,
only a you
and a me
and a long-forgotten slow dance,
a love affair euthanized
as an act of mercy.