An open letter to a friend

you don’t know what
i’m saying. you never know
because you never ask. instead,
you focus on the way my head tilts forward
and my foot stomps the ground. you focus
on how i struggle to form a single word, my mind
pushing forward a syllable, my mouth
rejecting each sound. instead,

you stare. your silence is all i hear:
long drawn-out pause
that makes me never want to speak to you again –
that makes me never want to speak again.
do you not know what to say?
do you not know that asking me to repeat the question
is okay? 
that i won’t bite your head off
for being a little bit decent? instead, 

we stop talking, at least in person. we revert
to 
passing each other in the street, to extending a
sideways glance. 
you avoid me like the plague
(except on social media where the world would think
we’re the best of friends). a “like”,
the occasional comment:
they all make me remember you leaving me standing
at the station platform, wondering why you left
without saying goodbye

Raelee Lancaster