Catching Forever

Forever isn’t always measured

in the length people like to trace,

stretch a yellow line from here to there

and mark the boundaries of a love story.

Sometimes eternity has its roots in our feet

and grows down, down into the centre of this moment.

It bursts like flour in the air,

filling your vision for only seconds,

sinks as particles into your lungs;

and occasionally, years later

you still feel her in deep breaths.

She pledged forever, darling –

I know it hurts to remember.

Your own broken vow stings in tandem,

a memory of what you couldn’t complete.

 

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.

 

In that incandescent bulb of time you shared,

you held a love that stretched outward

and echoed itself through the stars,

bent inward and unwound you

to that shell-pink state of softness,

replicated itself like leaves on a tree,

and just for that moment,

you knew the presence of Forever

in the corner of the room

and saw its unmistakable promise

reflected in her eyes.

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.

Day 18: It Knows My Name

Betrayal is the breaking of a promise.

I swore in my heart to stay, dear one,

though I never said it out loud.

Our interlocked fingers had burnt down to ash

long before I let go,

only the shell of it left,

like a log that holds its shape

while its inside turn to grey powder,

ready to burst into a cloud of the past.

Is that the same as breaking?

I promised I would try,

cut myself open one last time

and found I was empty from all the trying.

I was so tired, honey.

 

Betrayal sounds like willful destruction,

to throw away someone’s naked gifts,

like broken china on the dying grass.

I never wanted to break;

just your permission to leave.

You see it as failure

– and I can hardly blame you –

as I take a sledgehammer

to our castle in the air.

Shaken and dazed,

I step out from the ruins,

blinking in the glow

of colours I’d forgotten

in the years of our ash-grey chamber.

Knees buckled into rubble

and old picture-frame glass,

your heart bleeds through your chest,

and the scars on my own

weep in recognition.

Forgive me, darling, for changing my mind.