You can call it hypochondria
the itching and scratching and rising of your skin
when it has my fingers poised above it
or when the raw chicken I’m handling makes its way
close to your bread
and no manner of washing will run the germs from you.
You can call it nosophobia
when you won’t kiss my fevered head
or touch my poison-ivy’d hands
when the white pallor of my skin
sweats upon your own.
But you won’t call it indifference
when you refuse to answer me after a question
or stare at me while I run animatedly about my passions
neither commenting nor expressing
or remain silent when the texts pile up on your phone.
You will call that listening.
You will call that politeness.
You will call that a conversation.
I will call it