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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.