the elasticity of love (window pane)

i am too anxious for us
i am too anxious for you

i am a heaping bundle of anxiety in fact
masquerading as something like a human

as a high school english teacher i used to begin each academic year by asking students a question: which is more elastic – i would pause – a rubber band or a pane of glass in a window? – they always picked rubber band because they thought “elastic” meant the ability to stretch – “elastic” however is the ability of a material to return to its original shape – glass either remains intact when deflected or it shatters across the floor like tears –

think about it – i would stress to them – we say that rubber bands and waist bands in our clothes lose their elasticity over time right? – but teenagers tend to think about only one direction – stretching and not the importance of returning – i thought this was a lesson in word meaning and the need to be careful with our diction – i realize now i was teaching them about rubber bands and window panes and the elasticity of love

i am too anxious for us
i am too anxious for you

but it will not be what we have feared
age and taboos and everyone else

you will stretch like a rubber band again and again
eventually unable to return to my anxious love

or you will hold fast like a window pane flexing slightly
until finally you shatter across the floor like tears

—P.L. Thomas

window pane

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