once upon a time
I spoke freely
perhaps too much so
prattling to myself
random model trains of thought
puttering through the lounge room
(not much in the way of scenery though, I must admit)

once upon a time
I asked questions
of all kinds
curious as any cat
simple idle queries raised no flags
flashed no red lights
(even when they were superfluous, Captain Obvious)

once upon a time
I knew the soul
and heart and mind
behind the eyes
and the smile
even though preoccupied with sundry things
(and even when it hides)

but now?

I bite my tongue
or else I don’t
and am undone
somehow lighting a fuse I can’t see
with a spark I don’t even know I created

I lock my lips
requests die aborning
or else I don’t
and am rebuffed
somehow unwelcome now
in the other half of my own heart

I stand bewildered
looking warily 
at the stranger wearing my beloved’s face
walking cautiously
away across the broken glass of words and rage and pain

or else I don’t

because I know he is still in there
and once upon a time
I will find
some cleared and neutral ground
to dance with him