Victoria

We’re carving through islands,

hopping houseboats coloured

like dreams I haven’t had

since childhood.

All belongings underwater –

like turtles we’ve taken

the burden on our backs eagerly

for the chance to taste seawater.

The ruts in prairie fields we found

ourselves in no longer have

the traction to hold,

as we’ve traded our handfuls of mud for sand.

People don’t do this. But we are.

My skin and hair relaxes with

the wet abundance in the air,

and I feel the pause,

that intermittent fog of much-needed reprieve,

lifting at last.

All this time,

these dreams were so much closer than I thought.

I followed a trail of breadcrumbs,

held in my mouth the yeast and powdered grains

along with the curiosity, the longings, the long-time loves.

I followed yoga, robes, and the smell of incense,

chased the affections of friends I never have to run after,

the green moss of lands where life unfurls

in effortless plenty,

and landed here.

I plant myself in this rich, dark soil

and await the flowers that lay dormant within me.

Quiet Retreat

I’ll wear rainbow socks under blue sheets,

and make myself a sky.

I’ll wear a green shirt for the earth,

whistle for the birds, and tap

my fingers for the pad of paws.

I can form towns with a few inches of fabric,

make an ocean with my pillow,

and turn my knees into a mountain range.

I’ll mark the passing of days with a pencil

on the walls, for you if you’re watching.

I’ll see my old world only as red light

under my eyelids, a soft glow that is

all I can withstand from the place

marked to me by your absence.

In the Depths of Despair

In the depths of despair,

as the dagger twists,

I pause to say thank you.

Thank you because a look into another’s eyes

now reveals the moment the fire seared their skin,

and there is no separation between us.

Thank you because each new familiar hurt

feels less like my pain

and more like the pain that unites,

that sends us running to the arms of strangers

who are our mothers.

Thank you because always, inevitably,

the ice melts, the buds of spring return,

and the soil of my being is made

soft and fertile from the harsh cold months.

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.