She posted it
for all the world to see:
That she found the perfect man,
“not 75 percent
not 99.9 percent
but 100 percent,”
the one.

Something about it
ate at me
the moment I saw it.

It was such a simple word
but it took me a while
to figure it out:
not of her beautiful face
or beautiful body
(I had those too
when I was her age
and have no reason to think
hers wouldn’t also
eventually fade),
not of the fact
that she’s with somebody
but of the innocence she has
that I can well remember
but know
I can never recover

a tragedy
to realize
a part of your life
is lost
and you didn’t even know
at the time
that it was this important

I could not bear to be close to her
and be there to see it
when reality
catches up
on her naïveté
and breaks her heart
so I sent her away

I couldn’t protect her
so I protected myself
from being reminded
that something that feels so right
could all too suddenly
go so wrong