After

You approached me after my set
in the way I knew you would.
Head down, quiet.
Timid.

You complimented my writing.
Described the ways you
liked my first piece,
the one with the numbers.
I wrote it knowing you would.

I wanted to know what it felt like
to sit and watch
as I stood in the light
reading words meant
for your ears alone.

You didn't offer me
feelings and
you didn't describe
your experience of
hearing poetry
clearly written
for you.

I looked to you
as I
read my last piece
and observe your reaction.

You looked sad
and serious
and you were leaning
into
each word.

You got the message.
As quickly as you leaned in,
you pulled away.
Perhaps in the only way you could.

I still hoped.
I hoped you'd feel
inspired
to make space
for the feelings between us.

I hoped
you’d say something to
challenge my perspective
on what happened
and did not happen
between us.

I offered the chance,
multiple opportunities.
I hung around until you left.
I made myself available
as I did from the moment
I introduced myself to you.

“Your writing is beautiful,”

you said.

I know. I know it is.
My mind is, too.

Let go

I understand the notion of letting you go
but theory doesn’t release
the tension in my chest
the way I look for you in videos
my friends post.

I understand
the necessity of leaving
and there’s a difference
between a physical separation
and the emotional untangling
of wanting and needing.

And when they say your name
I’ll lean in
to hear you in their voices
to see you in their eyes.

I won’t ask about you;
I’ll listen for news
I’ll think of you
until the wanting
no longer feels as good
as the idea of you.

What’s its shape

“How’ve you been?” 

A dull stab to a stubborn wound. 
I share that 12 hours of my day are fulfilling.

I work,
I problem solve,
I learn.

I withhold the rest of it.
The aimless hours
ruminating 
on the could have beens
the losses.

It's when I'm alone the fear spreads.
Most days the void is tangible.
It’s shapeless.
I want to label it to know it fully.
I’d know its name and greet it warmly.

Loss spreads.
Grief grows.

I think too often of the last conversation.
The ending.
And when it all feels too deeply rooted
I'm reminded  
that the anxiety will find 
a different power source.
The sadness will attach to something new.

I begin to make peace with the idea
that I can still have you
in sadness and grief.
In honoring the memories.

And so I'll wait 
for the days in which
my heart feels less a part of your own.
When I stop visualizing
moving in unison.

Until then, they'll ask,

“How are you?”

“I’m doing great, thanks for asking,”

My heart,
my heart though.
My heart won’t know it’s own shape for some time.