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 the next room

In one room
my grandmother begs for peace.
She cries for her mother,
screams in confusion and pain.
 
In the kitchen, he cooks dinner alone.
Smelts, fresh bread, salad, a beer.
I watch my grandfather as he moves
quiet and purposeful.
 
He fries the fish as he holds back tears.
He hears his wife cry out in pain.
His own is angry, frustrated.
He tells me,
 
“this was not supposed to happen.
This is not how I imagined the end.”
 
He sits at the kitchen table
the Steelers’ game plays in front of him
He does not notice me watching
as he drizzles hot sauce on his meal.
 
He turns, sensing me behind him,
tells me to grab a plate.
I do, knowing this is an important offering.
 
He fixes me dinner,
too many smelts than I can stomach,
salad, and bread.
I begin to eat silently next to him
 
This is his language of love.
 
He gets up suddenly
grabs a glass from the cupboard
pours half of his beer in the glass.
He hands it to me.
 
I drink. I take him in.
I say nothing. Because I know
he needs this. He needs me
to be silent with him, to eat
the food he has made
to accept what love
he has left to give.
 
To do something
anything.

washed away

I open the drawer
where I keep the lingerie
I wore that night.

I look to 
the bottoms you took off
to enter 
without foreplay or affection.
Without protection.

I asked you to wear a condom.

I stand alone in my bedroom.
I hold the shorts to my nose
the satin smells like your cologne.

I'm reminded of the blind hope
the unfulfilling physical touch.

I feel mixed sadness
as I place
the satin shorts
in the washing machine,
reverently.

I wore them to feel
sexy,
desirable.

Like an object,
you take,
you play,
and return me
once you’ve finished.

I shut the lid
turn away from the wreckage,
wishing desperately to redo
the night you came inside 
looking for a way out. 

Loss

There is an understanding 
that emerges
with the experience of loss.

It's an emptiness
and fullness.
Grief mixed with hope.

It could be
two people
in different life events,
unmatched feelings,
let downs.

Whether potential is not met
or another chooses
to withhold contact,
it seems important to lose
because it means
one was open
to gain.

The loneliness remains
in the idea
that one day
there could be
connection and joy
in the company of another.

There seems to be
something compelling
in the act
of losing the potential
of another.

I want to acknowledge
that loss
doesn't mean
something was lost.

Dreamworld

 The other night,
I found you in a dream.
You were tender and kind
and offered momentary affection.
Even in this dreamworld
you left.

I awoke
feeling emptied of
the intense intimacy
you could provide
and chose
to take 
away.

Shoreline

Paused,
I stood on the boardwalk
unsure of how close
to the Atlantic's edge
I could allow 
my planted feet.

I slept on the beach
as the sun drifted
to horizon
and I still
could not touch my
body to the 
water.

I knew then
that if I 
sought peace
at the shoreline
I would find myself there.

Yearning and sad.
Emptying what 
came before 
and making space
for the new.

Unsure if I could
continue grieving
what came and went,
what did not
happen.

The shoreline contained
both open and closed ends
of whatever it is
that led me to the ocean water.

The shore revealed
all parts of me
alone and seeking
something other
than the company
of my own mind.

And so I left
the ocean
and its company
a day early
because I was not ready
to hold
what its waters
led me
to face.