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.

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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.

My Forgotten One

I still carry the mark we agreed on,

the pale reminder of the journey forsworn –

always back to each other.

Memories run fickle

off the tributaries of my mind

but my ears still know

the echo of a thousand love songs

you whispered to me

in a marriage bed

filled with ticking clocks.

I don’t want this time

to be coloured with the bitterness

of impending separation,

of the mind’s clever trick

of ownership or possession.

The dance of together and apart

is that of twisting kois,

my watercolour fish,

swimming in circles for centuries.

I turn away from endless faces,

waiting for recognition to halt me,

and even as logic protests,

sureness shouts that our day will come again

just as the seasons –

we’ll fall back into each other’s arms

and the hearts we’ve shared,

pried open for pearls over and over,

never tiring of the chase.

Our Love

We’re not painted, thinned out

technicolour prints of what love claims to be.

We’re rolled and dimpled skin,

and the slick rawness of lips

touching for the first time.

We’re the hours that vanish

while you hold your fingers over my skin,

forming circles in my back,

and me letting you.

We’re schoolhouse windows decades old,

broken glass and rusted bars,

but we’ve leaned out through the history,

risked cuts on the windowsills,

and seen how lush the schoolyard is,

how wild the trees have grown.

We’re the ones who make no apologies –

behind closed doors we make love

like it’s our last revolution.

Defeating hate and greed tastes like

your kisses when you’re sweaty, smells like

your hair when you wake up, feels like

the way you look at me when I say I love you.

Our love is no political protest,

but in this clenched fist world,

loving at all is a radical act,

and loving like this

strikes fear into the hearts of men

who don’t know how to lay it bare.

Letter to My Little Brother

Little Brother,

I know you’re scared.

I know the world has handed you

an outline of the life

you’re expected to live,

placed stickers shaped like

black footprints on the floor

in front of you and declared,

March.

And you, Little Brother,

with wide eyes and sweaty palms,

still stand looking at the floor.

When was it our feet became glued

and stapled to the things we know for sure?

The bigger we became,

the bigger the world,

in sync with us, grew,

till it towered over our tiny blonde heads,

that just yesterday

were bobbing in rock pools

and bent over acrylic paints

and blank pieces of paper.

 

I know, Little Brother,

we haven’t been getting along.

But the truth is

your fear is a mirror,

and I’m too ashamed to look

for long in your reflective gaze.

I, too, am clutching the checklist

I never asked for,

still hesitant to throw it away.

Fear, like a double-headed snake

keeps us hiding in the shadows,

crippled by what we’re told we must do,

yet desperate not to disappoint.

We never even thought to don armour together,

walk into battle side by side.

When the villain has two faces,

why wouldn’t it take two heroes to finish him?

 

Maybe the problem isn’t that

we don’t know how to move,

but that in a time where the lines

between “you” and “I”

mix into each other like vapour,

we’ve simply forgotten how to do it alone.

So Little Brother, can you try one more time

to pick up your sword?

I’ll help defend your heart,

if you help defend mine.

And perhaps with alternating

strikes and feints,

we might best the beast together

and find above what we thought

was a wreckage,

a spot to stand as one

and tell in a smile

the worries we couldn’t put aside for ourselves,

that were so easy to shed for each other.

 

 

 

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