Royale (clarity)

you consistently
took pictures
of me and of us
and I'd smile and 
you'd lean your head 
towards my own

I look at the ones 
from the Cove and 
the summer before

your eyes are 
the clearest blue

I always thought
they would  
reveal, open

I thought they'd 
let me in

Opaque 

we are together
and not
in every photograph 

and I held on
waiting for the clear
imagining the moment 
you'd love me enough 

The clarity 
was never in 
the blue of your eyes
or in our tent on the Isle

it was always here
in my knowing
that we were temporary
fleeting

it's why i worked 
tirelessly to resist it
to make us permanent

but this wasn't 
some challenge
or journey of worth

this was simply 
two people
intertwined
in timing and love

you were satisfied,
content 

and I 
couldn't handle
the truth in 
the opaqueness 
the reality

that was right in front of me
 

quiet

I like him best 
while he
plays his strings 
kisses my neck 
existing quietly,
together 

Is that fair 
when so much 
of his energy 
is loud and bold 

sometimes I think
the quiet of the 
last two years 
changed me 
even when 

I resented it. 

enough

I am always somewhere else
not in one place
on to the next 
back there and 
even further on.

Tell me, 
when will the waxing 
crescent 
above the setting sun 
be enough 

smothered

Up until that point
I had seen no 
clearer skies 
or stars as abundant 

I remember you
in images of 
the fire on the shore 
sounds of the dark waves,
the blanket on the sand-

I read my book instead 
of looking at you
under those stars.

And tonight 
across the 
blackest of clouds
a lighting storm
a cascade of 
lines and energy 
of matter and change 

You were both there
and not there 

Just the same as
under the Milky Way
at the shores of 
the Great Lakes

on the edge of the fire 
that we smothered with 
sand and water.


Hands

I left you in July,
started again in August. 
I’ll spend September 
wondering how
you are. 

You sat there
holding my hands,

“I don’t want to 
let you go,”

You implored,
as if you could not see
that I no longer knew 
the hands in my own. 

I knew you no more
or no less
than I had
the July before
or the one before that. 

“I miss that special bond,”

He said to me, a week after. 

What bond 
is silent,
I wanted to ask. 

What bond 
exists only 
in two laptop screens
and a tv monitor 
a late night cuddle,
a quick- paced walk. 

Perhaps you did know me
more than I knew you. 

Maybe I let you know me. 

The me that left 
and rose from your
bedroom floor
knows not 
of how or why 
two years from the day 
I asked for promises 
changed everything 
I thought I wanted. 

Special (full moon)

My father 
has always looked
through a wide frame 
lens

He sees 
the flaws and
the work 
wrapped delicately
in regrets and pride

He watches
as the sun rises and falls
from the center of my
chest

He sees ocean waves
in the irises
of the eyes he
passed to me 

(he takes me driving
to see the super moon
in the fall)

there is no facade
or performance 
with and for
him

He sees it all
and offers no
wavering, conditional 
affection.

“If anything happened to you,
my world would shatter.”

My father gave me
the experience of
feeling precious.

My father taught me
attachment.

and as I grew 
and moved,
I looked back to witness 
the ways and times
I’ve loved and 
been loved

and despite the depth
and authenticity,
nothing stuck
or lasted longer
then what was enough.

And here I am again
at the precipice of 
a new moon,
a waxing
crescent 

a love that is
tangible
yet fragile

but to him,
it comes and goes
and he fears 
its illusive state

and i fear its
capacity to crumble -

it isn't consistent yet
he isn't consistent, 
yet. Maybe 
I'm not, either.

This process
and indecision
changes the ways
I feel held.

I don't feel special.

Not in his eyes,
yet. 

I don’t want
the waning and waxing
with anything related
to the love he has to offer.

Give me
the wide lens frame,
the sunrise and sunset,
the ocean waves.

Synchronize
with your head 
and heart.

give me the full moon
or nothing at all.

picture

I walked the stairs 
to your place

using the key
i let myself
in

like nothing 
had changed.

I dropped some 
things off
in what feels like
a final exchange

I walked through the 
rooms and 
saw the picture of us
taken off the wall

A part of me knew 
that would happen,
eventually

and I'm not sure 
how I would have
felt if you'd 
left it hanging 

I moved to your
cupboard
noticed a card
I had given you
7 months in 

I read the promise
I  made 

that at the time you
could not return

I turned around
and noticed
the picture of us 
on the floor. 

The same floor
that held us
the night we ended

It feels more final, now
solidified here in this 
image on the floor
and the empty wall

I now know
that my first time
in Amsterdam with you
will be my last

the picture is the 
last piece of the 
puzzle that we
never finished
because I
didn't have all 
of the pieces

and neither did you -

at least, not ones
that fit my own

but we tried.
I know we did.

Those two 
people in that picture
did their best
and grew apart
loved deeply
and tried again

I hope you take the 
picture off the floor,
store it in a place
where one day you can
look back and smile
and know that on 
that balcony

we laughed
we had hope

we loved. 


Light change

I don’t know 
if it’s from
feeling lightheaded
or grief’s release

But everything
looks different,
now.

“Should I come to you?”

He asks, concerned.

“Not tonight,”

I reassure.

Tonight
I’ll
sleep with his
poems.

Tonight,
I mourn.

Fireworks

I wanted to 
write
in biting
verse

Asking about
your party
and my friends
in attendance

I’d make some
metaphor about
Independence Day

I wanted to
lash out
and ask
how the space
felt as you
hosted.

I’m still angry -

I’m still grateful.

I’m not going
to maneuver my
schedule around
your’s, anymore.

And I won’t
reach for you
in drunken texts
or in venomous
poems.

In the end
all it is
is missing you
and us
and the summer
before

And if I can’t
let go
I hope you can.

I hope you find
better

I hope it’s
more than
fireworks.

Oh,
didn’t I tell you?

I repel
the explosions
and the smoke

Sometimes
I hate them.

The empty sky
and hidden stars
once the show
ends.

But you’re
not them
and you’re
no performance

You’re sun
in February
and lightning
in June.

You are joy.

“How was your party?”

I’ll ask, pointedly.

“Did you see fireworks?”

And if you ask if I
saw them, too,
I’ll nod and smile
in the same
restrained way
you smile at me, now.

“Sure, I saw them,”

knowing damn well
I didn’t even look.

settle

next to the rubble
sits a leaf blower 
some supplies, 
unfinished wood

I reach for the tools
but do not know where 
to start

i pick the 
most destructive
and hear its force
as I watch the
sawdust fly 

this construction zone
was never intended 
for remodeling
or renovation

it needed 
demolished.

Now i watch,
holding too many
tools to carry
and a machine I have
no business operating

I set it down 
the engine still
running on high

I walk away.

I have to 
let the dust settle.