What’s Left of Us

I dreamt I held you a night or two ago,

let my head fall against your chest

and you caught me.

Humid air circles my skin,

recalling how familiar your arms felt around me,

and beads of sweat form

under the hair on my forehead –

despite the open window

and the wet spring snow outside.

 

I doubt myself,

but curve back into that homesickness

for something my heart

insists it knows,

and wonder at the strength of desire,

or perhaps of memory.

The Gifts of Guilt

The midnight blush of forgotten sins

makes me sit up in bed,

sweat running like tears

as my ego turns my spine to wood,

then forces it to splinter

so I can’t turn my head

without the reminders,

always the stab of needless wreckage to my innards

so I never lose sight of the tar I’ve soaked in.

Remember, remember the words you said.

Remember what was spilt and broken.

The only remedy is to stop turning,

to reside in the stillness

and let the shards be taken

in softness,

let the waters drip over their sides,

again and again,

until my back is curved to the floor

and my hands are thrown open.

And through the mixture of water and salt,

splinters turn at last to driftwood,

and my palms are full of softened bark,

trinkets for jewelry or a child’s game

or simply an adornment for sand.

 

The Taste of Peace

It’s the empty bliss between heartbreaks.

The second your clinging fingers let it slip

over the cliff and in your lightened grasp

colour floods back to your hand,

red rivulets rushing to warm

your desperate flesh.

It’s the golden pulse around you

when at last you reach the surface

and seize your first grasp of air.

Where straining ceases,

the casement flies open

and all that’s ever been floods in

– more than you could ever dream –

till the tears run

at the kaleidoscopic freedom

that was waiting all along.

To the Love I Haven’t Met

My darling,

you deserve to bloom without the clouds

of my shapeless needs looming over you.

You deserve to feel proud

of every choice you made

to become the person you are now.

You deserve to love and be loved

as much as you are able

in this split-second wrenching stay.

And I’m sorry for all the ways

my empty spaces have made that difficult.

I, too, deserve to unfurl

without becoming lost in greed

for things not meant to be mine,

or hiding from who

I was created to be.

I deserve to spread the light

this massive heart is capable of

over the whole world,

not chain it in bed

with a desperate green monster,

convinced his are the only eyes

in which connection lives.

I deserve to feel whole,

to know jealousy is an admiration

for who I am one day meant to be.

Or at worst, a fear that only

in being other than myself

could I be enough.

The path to healing is steep

and the cobblestones make it tricky

to walk alone.

Will you hold and be held

as we forgive ourselves and rebuild?

Will you walk beside me through this life?

as we teach each other

what love requires

and the bliss of being held.

The Western-Faced Compass

I fixed my happiness on it,

stamped my seal on the forehead

of a child to be born decades from that moment,

a child whose existence would solidify my own,

give weight and mortar to the ruins

my parents made of me.

But I would do it right.

I’d play my role dressed all in blue,

sigh slightly at misdoings

and know the quiet calmness

that comes from an indissoluble link,

an anchor firmly sunk into the breast of another.

 

When was the decision made?

the heart obscured to determine

true peace would be possible

only in the possession of a cradle,

the clinging to a title far too easily earned

that so often rends its holders invisible.

I am the wheel and rudders of this vessel,

and a turn from domesticity

should not disturb the waters

under this boundless fleet.

It it does, I must trouble those seasick wayfarers

to ask themselves

how my taking leave from their race

impacts their journey,

other than to remind them uncomfortably

of their ability to choose?

Her Half-Willing Heart

The ropes I’d so carefully sewn on a half-willing heart

had been stretching longer than I cared to admit.

They pulled at the flesh too slow to recoil

but gradually dipped me in pain –

till I sank,

till the taste of air

would have been dizzying.

I felt every tug of the string

caught in her beloved discontent,

laboured for the broken thread

of a love I carried alone.

And when she was finally brave enough

to take up the knife

and slice us in two,

I was stung with grief,

and with relief.

Lost in the Night

A thousand and one nights without You, my darling,

I collect thoughts like shards of glass from the street

and clutch them to my desperate heart.

But they all stab and cut in the end,

and the red dewdrops that appear

twin the tears in my eyes

at my own misunderstanding.

It’s not that You drift from me, but I from You,

slipping from our bed in a hypnotized passion,

to roam midnight calling for You by all the wrong names.

Why do I never remember what You told me?

To find a quiet place and think of You,

and You are there, constant as I am wavering.

I wonder why You permit my weakness,

my turning from our sacred love over and over

till I forget what Your touch feels like,

till the sight of myself in Your eyes

becomes a dim and painful memory –

peace too often veiled in darkness.

Oh my Most Beloved,

forgive once again Your inconstant lover,

teach this fickle heart to be true to You,

to know joy in Your certain embrace.