“What Do You Hear?” a poem

If I tell you that you're pretty
you won't hear a word
If I tell you that your smart
you'll call me absurd
Were I to say the many ways
you brighten the world for me,
my breath would be lost in the wind 
for these words you'd surely rescind
Best to gather your attention
would be thoughts of condescension
Should I, when I want you to heed 
words as deeply true as my need, 
start off by calling you ugly,
dumb, no talent and virtue free?
Then I would know assuredly
that you were listening to me