photo by threelittlebirds (Mindy J).
i reach for him
my body already numb
from too much pinot noir
and anticipate his rejection.
i know he doesn’t mean it but god does
it hurt that he’s left me with only
the shell of his body, his inner core
on retreat in the world of sorrow.
i deal with life for the both of us.
i repaint the pink walls white.
i donate the little dresses to charity.
i put the picture books into boxes
unable to keep from reading each one.
my fingers caress the brightness
on the pages. i hold the hard covers
against my face, nudging the word
love that always seems to be in
the title with my cheek.
leap into me love
never let me go .
tonight the boundary
between our worlds finally collide.
when i reach for him
he lets me hold him.
he lets his body relax into mine
and i feel a piece of darkness
slip out from under us.
you are my sunshine
my only sunshine i say
rubbing his back
kissing the tears away.
we were supposed to sing it to her
i say as our bodies rock back and forth
finally wading through the pain together.
inspired by a readwritepoem prompt about light
reader, i’m on the opposite side of your screen. can you feel me?
reach your hand through the page and stroke the nape of my neck. there’s a brief moment where you can slip your hand through the pixellated colors of your monitor and feel the wires of the machine wrap against your wrist as you get deeper and deeper into the computer and closer and closer to my neck.
reach for me and i’ll instinctively lean my head towards your fingers and feel the ripples in the ocean of our love as your hand runs up and down my skin. when your arm starts to weaken from the incredible stress involved in being in so many worlds at once, i’ll let out a soft whimper as i start to feel you pull away.
i can’t make my own ripples or contain enough love to fill a puddle of water. i’m not really an animal; i can’t sustain myself. i belong in the plant kingdom. i’m mostly broken. i could break and scatter the rest of myself into a small patch of soil and become something beautiful that you could keep in your sunroom and water each day. i would learn to grow tall, leaning towards the direction of your voice. i could live for you.
when we’re once again on opposite sides of the computer screen and you don’t know what to say to me because of course i can’t be your plant and you really are tired of my sad poems weighing you down, i’ll type “don’t worry. this is fiction.” you can breathe a big sigh of relief as you turn off your computer and decide on what you’re going to make yourself for dinner, completely unaware that without you, i am darkness.
The day he left we sat barefoot in the dirt, leaning against an orange
blanket, waiting. He dug his hand under my shirt, resting it
beneath my bra strap. He said he loved me. Or he called me beautiful.
They were the same to him.
I remember him smelling like laundry
detergent, his feet making lozenge
shapes in the dirt, and the tears,
his or mine, that crept into our kisses.
I loved listening to him breathe —
wheeze silence wheeze.
We would drink red wine or play scrabble or read Anne Sexton
poetry. Always Sexton — the only poet we could agree on.
“Maybe we would like each other’s poems,” I said,
my naked foot stroking his leg.
“No. You would see too much in mine, and
yours, yours, I’m afraid I would hate — cheery rainbow pieces,”
I saw his chapbook at a friend’s house today.
He wrote this love poem:
“The most important part, I guess
is that I love you –
the vulnerable way you can be at night
when you are falling asleep
and we hold each other
for the first time that day.
I’m tired of hoping
that you will become someone
new to me the following morning.
Someone worldly, or good for me.”
I tried not to see too much but my name was the title.
That night I wrote him a bedtime story:
“Maybe when you fall asleep tonight,
you can dream about yourself,
broken repeatedly then put back together —
a dream that includes everything you’ve
done to me. Maybe feeling what I feel
can change you.
Or maybe, just maybe, you can slip into
your sleep and stay there.”
Cheery rainbow pieces indeed.
inspired by totally optional prompts
a little girl
used to being
her own playdate
tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk
the yellow yolk dancing
on the pavement with petals
that had abandoned a daisy.
away from the heat
and their spouses,
a man and woman
soap bubbles off
of each other’s backs.
two pretty boys in striped
shirts, suspenders and church
hats waited for the bus.
“maybe momma will come home today,”
the younger boy whispered,
his face a soft caramel from the sun.
“no, she hates poppa more than she loves us,”
the older boy answered,
his hat and the sun making
shadows skip across his face
as he gripped the bag she had
left behind under his arm tighter.
i fall for you
hesitant fearful flicker
when to catch.
ancient, decrepit things
still flutter for you
do a weird somersault dance
when you do that staccato laugh
during tickle fight 78.
you cannot beat me.
my old apartment had a spot on the living room floor that radiated warmth. it probably was in close proximity to a radiator in the apartment below mine, but i liked to think that it existed for the sheer pleasure of my feet’s touch.
i would trace my feet along its boundaries, feel the divide between warmth and cold, and wonder if it was a love story meant for only a few tiles to share. it didn’t matter that the whole room wanted to be loved. i wanted to be loved.
every time i rediscovered it, it put my entire body at ease. sometimes, i would lay my whole body on the floor. the warmth could hold my hands, cheek, chest, and the beginning inches of my waist all at once.
i would curl my body as tightly into the fetal position as i could and try to contain the warmth. slowly, my body would start to shake. it was time to let go, and this fact never changed no matter how much i struggled. it always escaped me too soon, and the cold would run up my spine like a shiver.
i want to wake and still be with him.
he finds me no matter which dream room i pick. beautiful him. his face draws so close to mine that i can smell his vanilla breath. a tingly feeling reminiscent of girly, wistful love runs through every centimeter of me as he kisses my back and it tickles.
sometimes, when he sees me it’s after another day of heart break by another monster and he doesn’t say anything. he smoothes away the tangles in my hair and he lets me cry until i can’t. then, he lifts up my head from his chest and tells me he’s in love with me. he says it over and over again and my brown cheeks flush with joy.
he doesn’t talk about his day life but often when i see him his mocha skin has breaks in it like he’s been beaten. i wipe his knuckles clean with alcohol and kisses. he rests his head against my stomach, listening to its rumbling and my soft singing to him, and i feel the anger slowly leave his body.
sometimes, we just sit, too numb to engage, our backs leaning against each other. we read or listen to music or play separate hand held video games. the silence slowly dissipates with his laughter. his bright, eruptions of laughter at my silly, random jokes feel like home. he clutches my face and kisses me. pieces of his laughter drift through my lips and recess in the vacancies in my heart. i feel what happiness must feel like.
we try to stay together, to stay asleep, but fighting to stay asleep becomes as painful as fighting to stay awake does when you’re tired. we never get to say good bye; we wake up alone.