Online Dating

Used cars
Rescue animals
Online dates
It’s the same process
Sifting through life’s unwanted ads

Several previous owners
Likes beards, tattoos and banter
Does not play nicely with other animals
High mileage but a great little runner
Abandoned, through no fault of their own

Who on earth am I kidding?
The excess baggage I carry
Makes me a serious flight risk
An accident waiting to happen
Don’t go near me!

I grew up terrified by the idea
Of becoming a man
Which was awkward
Because it was always going to happen
Arguably it already had

Despite my fear
No other option ever occurred to me
I’ve never understood who or what I am
Oh, for a label of my very own
Maybe I simply lacked imagination

But I’ve never been more grown up
Than I was when I was ten
There and then, I stood up to him
Called his bluff, sent him on his way
For twenty years

“Bye, dad”

Ten years of doubt and anger
Fear, regret, pain and hate
Ten more wondering
Then ten building bridges
Or at least trying to

But you can’t do it on your own
A bridge has two sides
Those ten years were only more learning
That ultimately there was no point
He is what he is

No change
No revelations of some new-found humanity
Just suspicion, bitterness, and bile
Lashing out, apportioning blame
Then gone. Again.

“Bye, dad”

He’s a ghost he always will be
Ten-year-old me is a ghost as well
But one who lives on inside me
Keeper of my innocence and sense of wonder
Never grew up and never will

Yes, dating me is dating a ten-year-old boy
Hidden inside, like a giant Russian doll
Sedimentary layers of life experience applied 
Upon that brave ten-year-old
Who died all those years ago

I’m a six-foot five-inch Peter Pan
Exhilarating, hilarious, the life and soul
No beard, unless I forget to shave
No tattoos, but I can touch my nose with my tongue
And I can wallow in that faintest accolade: I’m nice

Then back I glide into the black hole
Unremarkable, invisible, unnecessary
Existing on the outside looking in
I wouldn’t gamble your emotional life savings on me
Just another lost boy

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