Mistake

by Suzanne Langlois

He mistook me for a getaway car —
highway laid out
before the gleaming hood,
straight and faithful as a church aisle.

I mistook him for a muddy riverbed —
a soft thing to drift into,
something that does not grasp or let go,
just gathers itself around you.

He mistook my sigh for a promise,
a holy thing — half prayer, half spell.
He mistook me for someone
with the kind of magic
to bind what is unbound
and make it love its bonds.

I mistook his fantasy for a future
soaked in a broth of wishes —
like waking up into the beautiful dream
instead of out of it,
all the disappointments undone.

He mistook my glance for an unlocked door.
I mistook his for an open window.

Now, we both know better,
and have given back the things we mistook.
But it clings to our fingers —
this stain of taking what wasn’t ours,
what did not exist until we took it,
and not even then.