When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again.
I used to be one of those women who valued a marriage proposal as the proudest moment of her life. I was proposed to on the top of a really tall building in Chicago. I used to cut recipes out of magazines while cupcakes were baking in the oven. I used to be one of those women who could be found…
Sometimes it is the smallest thing that saves us: the weather growing cold, a child’s smile, and a cup of excellent coffee.
I hope you look for me in everyone else and panic when you realize that they’ll never be exactly the same.
I asked you, ‘Tell me about her.’ And you looked me in the eyes and replied, ‘Well, what do you want to know?’ and that’s the exact moment I knew you didn’t love her, not really. See, if you did you would’ve gone on about how her voice is now your favorite sound. That when she is next to another women their beauty doesn’t even compare to hers. How even when she steals the blankets at 3am you’re just glad she’s warm. That when she touches you, even slightly, it causes the hairs on the back of your neck to stand. How when you kiss you don’t know whose air your breathing but you know that all you want is to be there in that moment forever. That you can see yourself having three children and a dog in a beautiful house someday soon. How her eyes are pure and truthful and when you look into them all you feel is happiness. That her laugh is what you live for even though it’s loud and obnoxious. How looking at her makes all the bad seem okay. You would’ve gone on a rant about her without hesitation, like the way I do when someone asks me why I still love you.
I thought: please don’t grow
familiar. I think I said it out loud:
Please don’t let me love you
that horrible way.
First Kiss Haiku
You and I kissing
That poem would write itself
Over and over
She was sitting in the back of her truck,
catching wishing flowers in her mouth.
“Wishing flowers?” you asked.
“The seed head of a Taraxacum — The Dandelion.
Sometimes people blow every single seed off its head,
but you’re supposed to throw the entire crown in the air and let the wind guide it.
I need to catch them
to taste people’s wishes.”
You needed to marry her.
Plucking a dandelion out of the ground,
you tore the flower off of its stem and planted the wish in her mouth.
“My dress will be yellow,” she said.
51 years of clumsy sex,
jobless months, child proof doorknobs,
love letters, church gatherings, family meetings,
anxiety pills, road trips and pit stops, droughts,
floods, canvases, smashed bottles, make-up sex, postcards,
diets and binges, museums, dictionaries, photo albums,
dinner conversations, wishing flowers and
her flimsy memory.
The doctors warned you of a progressive disease
that deteriorated the recollection of her words,
her actions, her loved ones,
The fifty second year brought the confusion;
the time loss,
her lack of reason for missing your daughter’s birthday.
“I forgot,” she said.
You found half of your book collection in the freezer.
When the kitchen stove caught on fire
all she could tell you was “forget”.
It is the season of wishing flowers
and you bring home a bundle.
“Why do you feed me weeds?” she asks.
The doctors suggested cues;
prompts to rid of her passiveness —
to regain her initiative.
“Let’s take a walk,” you say.
She refuses to walk with a stranger.
Her memory loss left you believing
that we are alive only to forget;
that in the entire 53 years you were married,
the only noise left were her screams every morning,
waking up next to you.
But you refused to forget her,
and when she passed away,
you tacked a timeline of photographs
in every room of your house.
Two years later,
you are unable to remember your name.
Let me tell you a
secret about when
I realized I loved him
it was sometime
after midnight and
we had shed our clothes
and walls like snake skin
and I started believing
in his eyes like I had
I pinched the skin
on my sides, and smiled
with my mouth, but not
with my eyes and I
admitted that I was not
completely happy with myself
(in fact, I have never been
completely anything, I have
always had just one foot
in the water, or half my heart
out in the open)
Shocked, he held and kissed me
and then said (jokingly) that
“Only my opinion matters,
And I think you’re beautiful,
and I love being with you.”
And oh God, how much I do love being whole again.