A photograph is a secret about a secret—Diane Arbus

I have this secret see

and you know it too.

It's a small secret: a dog twitching in her sleep.

We only discuss it between 2 and 5 a.m.

in the parking lot behind the church.

Sometimes, when I tell you the secret again, you act surprised

as if it was the first time you'd heard such a thing.

But sometimes you say yes, yes, I know that.

We smile at each other from across the room

when someone broaches a certain secret subject.

If we've had too many drinks you tell a grim secret to me

but in the morning you don't remember.

So, then I have a double secret

your secret and the fact that I know it, that's another one.

It takes a few tries.

Sometimes it's old:

I'm in the cloakroom with my brother's best friend. The floor smells like cereal. He doesn't look me in the eye as he tells me something he's never told anyone. In the hallway together afterwards, my brother pushes him against a wall and says what were you doing in there with her? The crime is always intimacy.

Sometimes it doesn't matter:

a stranger's grocery list found in the pages of library book.

Sometimes it's brutal:

a sniper view of a couple on the street below

the woman tucking the man into her trench coat.