You press your hand against mine and my grip
is limp, lacking the conviction you desire.
I cannot, I can’t, be that thing that you need.
Your eyes are on me, and I can feel their weight
like kidney stones pushing hard against a nerve.
Because I cannot, I can’t, look at you like that.
I turn my gaze away, let the music play, and speak
the words I never will. My conscience is too ill,
to say the lines, so I miss my cue.
It’s like a dress rehearsal for a cancelled play,
this doomed affection.
By Rachel Norris
(Prompts: conscience, ill / disillusion, lover)