You can't help that you care-
wishing you didn't, wanting to be cold.

Pause beside closed doorways,
listen for the sound of even breathing.

Even when your mind blanches against
things you know are wrong, you care.

In the greatest depths of anger,
love swims there, holding its own,
refusing to die.

Scar tissue gives you no callousness,
just the dull ache when it rains,
and it still hurts to the touch.

Then there's the rest of you; young face,
old eyes, tired bones, wry smile.

Your impossible paradox confuses everyone,
even those most close to you.

It's good that they don't understand.
They're innocent. Protect them.

9-15-03