The rain keeps coming back, and I am trying hard to see that as a blessing and not a metaphor for all the places that we fall.
Your father built houses and your hands make them crumble.
You’ve been trying to redeem yourself of this
but your messy words are charters, too.
They just reach for different destinations.
Some days I get so tired thinking of all the places I should have been,
all the loves I could have tasted.
I was not made to hold this much missing.
Today I pretended that it was November and you were here with me,
and this isn’t the way we fall apart.
I’ve spent the last 80 days wondering about a space to breathe in this town
but instead I come back to how our souls had met and re-remembered it the night we first kissed.
So you can let the others rest with their windows battened down.
Leave yours to creak
open and closed,
open and closed.
The wind falls defenseless against your skin.
You are not a poem.
I know, I know.
I should not have made you one.
I am sorry for the ways that I wrote you.
You are not composed of sheets
but of sighs.
Not of the ocean
but your own salt water tissue organs.
You were made
in the belly of your mother,
formed of love and chance and spite.
Not of fate. Not of words.
Not of the rivers you always run by.
Of cells multiplying as they always had
since their components fell from the stars.
I’m not trying to make you into a poem.
It’s just that every time I form a word
you’re already there.
The day I turned 21, my foot slipped from too many gas pedals.
I spent more time in bed than out.
I sped through interstate meetings I was not born for.
The day I turned 21, the sky bled black like my mother’s skin after she’d been prodded with too many needles.
My face turned red from the sun’s last laugh.
The kitchen floor caught my tears.
I had still never seen fireflies.
We ignored each other’s calls.
We let the stars set.
The day I turned 21, they said summer was ending.
I told them I’d just move further south.
(I still don’t know what I’m doing. Forgive me.)
You raise your hand
but I am still learning to stay
long enough in one place
for my roots to grow.
If I could go back in time, I’d lick jam off the fingers of Octavius,
swim in the sea with Amazons,
drink tea that my grandmother poured.
I’d wear lace from Venetian needles;
stand on the cliffs of Dover as they broke from France.
Find the feeling of my 6th birthday.
Buy the same dress that I wore, but this time dance.
Follow the pieces that brought you to be mine.
Watch your parents sing you to sleep. Hum along if I know the song.
Watch your heart get broken for the first time.
Not quite help you pick it up.
Hold your hand those same summer nights. Watch the earth begin.
Some days my heart beats too fast for my chest. The shake of unfed hands, the secret lips of pages. I think I’m fading and think I’m growing. How terrifying, wondrous, and strange it is to be. Someone whose breath could mix with yours, whose legs can’t reach enough, who’s seen too many fights and flights and dark-doused daydreams.
How fearful to feel my lungs unfurl on nights when I can’t see. I can’t find the beat in my throat from anywhere inside but I think that it could fell a tree.
I think my blood’s turning pink, and it’s left its mark on too many sheets of scribbled note paper that no one may ever find.
I don’t want you to see my words. I think they might cut your edges. I’m dripping out a tap of under-water-color and half-drunk India ink, tied together with intentions and bits of birthday string.
A fight of melodies. A flight of earth, magic, and solemnity. A chorus and a day you’ve somehow seen."
To put it lightly
You are like all the good things I have ever seen.
You are like that beach in Crete, found after too many detours and tiring legs.
You are like that night in my mother’s hospital room, after we’d said our goodbyes.
You were the rain on my grandfather’s farm.
The clay mud I drove four-wheelers through.
The pregnancy test turning pink in my sister’s hand.
To put it gently, please
Love me for the nights you didn’t know I was there,
when we woke up far from each other’s beds.
Love me for the years between us, and the years that may still come
To put it simply
You are my refusal to scratch out a line,
a need to cement the proof that you were always there.