loss


i sat down with a blue pen and my gray eyes
and waited for a sign
like a silent vessel on a rocking sea of his undoing,
crests and swells breaking over my seaglass heart
with all the urgency of this waning love

so please,
don’t tell me “everything changes with the dawn”
because one day, when the moon stands still
and the tides release their push&pull
no day will rise

so when he begins to fall apart,
i start to pay attention
to things like aches and writer’s block
and patterns in the sky.

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In these days of smaller moons & wider skies
deep as secrets kept only until daybreak,
I struggle past feverish dreams of falling
to wake with Summer hanging on my morning lips
and you are gone but
everywhere,
just the way I hoped it’d never be

til one day or every, I will see you again
pass you like a stranger in a liquid crowd
pulsing cross a Midtown street
as you go the wrong direction
(if the right one was ever ours)
and your name will catch in my throat,
a foreign object around which I must relearn to breathe
like a child choking on a hard candy,
terrified by how something so intoxicatingly sweet
can blacken you out completely

and at best
I’ll wake up to a gray sky
& wonder if I even dozed at all,
missing you in the silences
while talking in my sleep
yet again.

we lay quietly in the silences preceding pre-dawn secrets,
reinventing each other from the ashes of muted truths and liar’s swords
and i said the only thing i thought could make you stay
as the snow began to fall:

“tell me a story”

relief fluttering your voice like a breeze through a stifling room
as you fell into fantasy with such practiced ease:
dragons and far-off lands
where fair-haired girls who look nothing like me
fall terribly in love with the hims they just can’t live without
(and all i ever wished for was a silly paper crown)

& come tomorrow or once upon a time,
we will speak nothing of this
as you slip into the gray day like a faded knight
and i drink coffee with my mother and she hands me the truth,
simply as a child’s prayer:
“if you can live without him, do.”

i don’t even like dragons.
(true story.)

 

 

this was the season we’ll look back upon
and say, “something just never felt quite right,”
likely placing blame upon the easy culprits:
global warming and shocks of skin, scarfless and exposed,
our Winter throats pale as apple flesh
against a thinning sky,
against inclement eyes

so we went ahead and fell when the snow refused to,
shooting down such a warm December like an injured dove
a Wendy-bird
a child’s paper love,
feverish hands buried deep in pockets
where our secrets thawed and ached
& when  you said “i could get used to this” and promptly lost your gloves,
i prayed for snow and knew
we’d already frozen over.

we fell in love the way other people fall down stairs:
a rough-and-tumble blackening out
in the shudder of a misstep, landing askew
with my hair a tangled mess as though from fitful dreams
and your limbs all wrong,
jagged angles jabbing deeply
where we should have just
fit.

do you really think it’s supposed to be
this hard?
my mother asked me,
her words like pebbles in my shoes
that i just couldn’t shake out
because really, i just wasn’t thinking at all
with you around.

i finally walked away after my screams flew
ragged as a murder, black wings against a dusking sky
your eyes darkening as you lied
and couldn’t stop,
a rockslide of black diamonds
i’d no longer collect.
“goodbye” just seems so utterly unfair
when there’s no good in the way you let me down
and let me go.

when i finally tied his letters up that summer
& lost them in my parents’ attic,
i garnered the shards of my post-modern romanticism
and decided to move West.
this was my 20-something time
to eschew all modicums of sensibility
and start a riot in my quiet life,
party of one:
a renaissance of the heart,
a final leap through hoops of flames
where my thin skin would thicken as the ashes settled
and i’d never look back to where he stood,
a pillar of salt marking the door to my Past.

in December i quietly dried my eyes
and counted out the states to set between us,
a breadcrumb trail of rivers and towns
he’d never ask to trace.
i gave no warning,
my final good-byes flung from the driver’s-side window
at every state border
as i left him behind.

i loved him, of course
the way you always love the one who keeps you down
like a stone upon your paper wings
or a certain song you wish you could forget
but can no longer fall asleep without.
i loved him without regret —
until i regretted everything.

tick, tock.
given enough time and
the right person’s smile,
everyone of us will dream 
of a runaway cliche.

when it rains in Manhattan i remember you,
the spoked edges of your practiced poise & charm
springing up like a tattered umbrella
above my girlish (in)sensibilities
and for a moment, i shiverache to hold you close —
before the torrent of my memory streams forth
to stain your once-waterproof facade
like red wine on fine cashmere.

come December, i won’t think of you again.

so please steer clear of Bleecker Street
and the cafe where you locked my gaze
through a watery pane on an April morning,
for i’ve no room for new visions of you
pressed like lingering footprints when my world goes white.

truth be told,
i prefer to save my Winter blues
for safer things
and leave you in my shades of gray.

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