i remember the gin and tonics
we drank that night
on the balcony
in the darkness
of an early summer’s evening
the brick buildings radiated
the day’s warmth and the traffic
was now just a dull murmur
a lullaby in the twilight
the drinks were a little stiff
i thought, though behind
the sweetness of the tonic
and the sour of the lime
i did not really know
what gin tasted like
i sipped recklessly on
as we talked of this and that
then you asked a question
why do you think …?
it was as casual as
a weighty question could be
i strung together garbled thoughts
and gave you an answer —
a true one, softly put —
and that was that.
but now i know different.
now i think of what i might
have said, should have said
i would ask more questions
than the answers i gave
and in giving those would name
the nuances of human nature
i would listen more than speak
stilling my own voice
so i could hear the truth in yours
i would …
but i didn’t then.
and i’m sorry.

— — — — —

Written for Writer’s Digest’s November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Day Four: An apologetic poem