Seashell

There is
something
to the idea 
of riding the wind 
instead of stubbornly 
trying to change its direction.

I walk to the ocean's edge 
find a seashell in the sand 
I toss it back to the water. 
It doesn’t belong to me anyway. 

Sand

I arrive at the 
front door of a house
that holds
the dynamics
of family 
as pervasive
and as deep
as a bloodline. 

At the doorstep I
witness the
lines of 
victim-hood
blended with
the incessant
need to be right.

In the doorway
I take a breath
in anticipation.

I notice the sand
that's been carried in on
the feet of
my beloved
family members.

I don't want to feel
the sand
on the bottoms of my own
or on the seat of my chair
or the floor of the shower.

I wonder
about the
rifts 20 years
in the making 
and what they've
done to the floors
of this home.

They seem as
ubiquitous
and invisible
until felt
as the sand that
found its way
into the
fabrics
of this family.

The floors take the brunt of it
scratched and rubbed down
until layers of coating
are exposed raw
until the foundation of this
home cannot
hold the weight
of what we bring to it.

At the doorway
I look inside.
I see my mom and
her sister sitting
at the kitchen table.

I wonder what it is
I do not know
about the sand
between their own toes
particles they may not even
feel anymore
since its become
ingrained
into the way things are.

I don't want to feel
the sand
on the bottoms of my feet
or on the seat of my chair
or the floor of the shower.

Sand belongs on the
shoreline
where the ocean can
do with it
as she pleases.

Here, the sand
clogs and scratches
it irritates and hollows.

I take another breath
remove my shoes.
I wash my feet of the
abrasive
and the stubborn.

I take care not to step
in the sand
my family
carries in.

Rising

Eye contact
the intimacy involved
in a gaze
that does not look away
even when my own
breaks
from the vulnerability of it.

Falling for him isn't
falling at all.
It's a form of rising
into something
greater than myself.

Rising into
a choice
of selecting
healthy thoughts
to believe
over maladaptive
pervasive
patterns of painful ones.

My body opens for him
and not simply to please
but to be pleasured in return.

He told me in some ways
it feels like I'm
a part of him.

He is steady
secure
he is calming.

I like the idea
of my own self
being a part
of him.
And he of my own.

Falling for him
isn't falling at all.
I don't feel a need
to be caught.
I feel the impulse
to rise.

Worn

I fell into something familiar
and like the last go,
it ended in
abrupt
explosive
and repetetive
goodbyes.

The familiar no longer
felt like
a warm fireplace.
It burned my
skin
and I turned to look
to something
cooling.

Something healing.

I fell into something familiar
those two years ago.

This time,
I walk into something
new.

Changing tides

I see the water meet the sky’s edge 
I expand, here.
I take in what's changed
what's remained.

I remember the moments 
I came to her shore 
seeking something other 
than what was,
seeking answers. 

Today
I come to her 
with a new request. 

Her waves sing 
and I ask for witness
as I recognize 
my own growth. 

I seek her
expanding memory 
so that when I forget
she’ll remind me
 
that tides change 
and so do I. 

In joy

What 
is joy
compared to
a lasting
ache

In joy
I lack the
preoccupation
the restless attachment
the wondering if
my feelings are matched
or returned at all

In joy
all I have
is the way
you leaned in to kiss me

The memory of standing
in the stairwell
you held my gaze
you held me
to share you’re not
seeing anyone else

All I have
are the hands
that didn’t let go of mine
from that first kiss
in the middle of your kitchen

I’m not sure how to write
in joy

But I can try.

living room floor

I kept my winter coat wrapped 
around me
like it would
be ripped
from my body.

Walking into your house,
I could taste the lingering
cigarette smoke.

When silence felt suffocating,
we tried humor.

Finally you asked for
what we both knew
I would not,
perhaps could not,
give.

My feeling of resolve
demanded our attention.
I became aware that this time,
this meeting,
could not be kept afloat
from half of myself
given to you.

I could not offer pieces
and call that love.

In that moment on the
floor of the room
where we both built
and collapsed
it was decided there would
be no last time.

I took responsibility for my
own feelings.
I took my healing seriously.

As if planned,
memories of the last
2 years played before us
in the realization
that I would no longer fit,
these were patterns
I could not sustain.

I remembered the day
you bought this house
and we stained the floor
installed a new rug
that we now baptize
with the remnants of grief.

We opened the door,
gutted the house and
attempted to restore
what we could.

As I went to leave,
I did not look back
in your direction.
I left the key on the kitchen table.

I left us on the living room floor.