Love poem inspired by leftovers

Once I read a poem in which
everyone living is allotted only

a little over a hundred words every day;
and a man saves most of his words so he

can whisper I love you over and over
to his lover, quiet on the phone each night.

He never asks (how could he) what she spent
all her precious language on: he never

upbraids her for using the last dozen or so
on an order for food or coffee, or to answer

the doctor’s query on where it hurts
and how. It sounds incredulous until I

consider how many times I’ve been given
the last serving of fruit or slice of cheese,

the only seat in a waiting room; how
he’ll drive the miles and miles that still

need to be covered, through which I’m never
chided when sometimes I fall asleep.

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