For You

Do I filter?



For you, mostly.


I filter my anger and crassness

My faults and follies

My uncharitable thoughts

And many (but not all) of my imperfections

So I don't drive you away

From the God who's still improving me

Bit by bit


I filter my emotions

The stronger ones, at least

Push them through the most powerful damper I have

Because my emotions

The strong ones, at least

Aren't just strong

They are towering



Like a wave in a stormy sea

That plucks you up

(Like a man lifts a runty kitten)

Pulls you back

Then hurls you forward with tremendous force

Into a rocky cliff


I filter my emotions

Because it's considered polite to be restrained

And without my filters

My reactions

To the stronger ones, at least

Would be panicked

Tear streaked


I'd be leaned back against the wall


Or with my arms braced against it

Or on my hands and knees

Or in the fetal position

I'd be gabbling senselessly

Unable to express how I felt

(Trust me, I've tried)


I filter them

Because most people, likely you, too

(From what I can tell)

Don't experience emotions so strongly

Except in extreme circumstances

And while it's not too common

It's not just extreme circumstances for me

Actually, not sure I've ever been like that

Not in extreme circumstances

Just more common ones

In the middle of a prayer, smothered by joy

Glimpsing a photo of the living, backhanded by future loss

Seeing a libelous ad, cut off by airless fury

And I filter them

Because I don't want to worry you


I filter my photos

Oh! No, not Photoshop

Or Instagram

Or whatever else people use

But I smile

And usually I want you and your camera to

Go away

But you want photos

And candids aren't good enough for you

And far be it from me to ruin that for you

(Besides, the nagging and yelling aren't worth it)

(Trust me, I've tried)

And I smile so that later

You and I and we all can pretend

That this memory was as perfect as it wasn't


Yes, I filter, mostly for you

I smile, and –

Oh, you want my eyes open?

Well, why didn't you tell me you wanted a baring of teeth

And a widening of eyes

A rictus of blatant falsehood?

Sorry, I thought you wanted

An expression of happiness

My ba –


I filter

Because I fear your reactions

I fear how my honest words

Would make you yell

Turn cold

Turn your back

So I hide away a good chunk of my sarcasm

Behind briefly closed eyes

A swiftly clenched jaw

A slight turn of the head

And a rictus now of false sweetness

That is impossible not to see for the polite

Meant-to-be-seen lie it is

Just another form of sarcasm, really

But a slightly more socially liked one


Do I filter?

Oh, yes

Despite that I am for the most part candid

There is no denying that

I filter, yes

I do it for you.


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