You came down the stairs

Maybe it was the angle of the light

which took my breath and pulled my chest so tight.

I wanted to say you were amazing but

“You have such a pretty face,”

dribbled from my mouth.

I smiled.

Your expression turned ironic.

“They’re your genes”, you said.

As you brushed by me

I was filled with fear.

Too often I have heard about your pretty face

from others who think that they are being kind

about your larger body.

Is that what you thought I meant?

Too late to say, “Oh no!”¬†

Too late to take back every stupid joke.

Too late to admit I worry size will mean no boys.

Too late to find a way to protect you from the cruel 

courtesies of kind women.

Too late to tell you I am on your side.

I walk gingerly behind you to the car.

Why am I surprised you say you hate me?

A little detail I did not notice, a little detail.

Can we still hug across the giant wall?