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.

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.

Hoping for more
and fearing the possibility
all at once. 

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.

T-shirt

I’m thinking of
how it felt
waking up to the sunrise
in a room that wasn’t my own.
 
I watched it rise higher
as I thought of the night before
how magic was made,
co-created with quick wit,
intimacy,
hearing the stories of
the rocks and art in your room.
 
I tried to rest,
and when sleep wouldn’t take me,
I reached across you
for the cup of water on your nightstand.
You startled awake.
 
I rose from the bed to leave.
We talked lightly as I
put my clothes on.
 
I don’t remember the words you used
or the tone in your voice
when you instructed me to
leave the shirt
I had borrowed to sleep in.
 
And I think in that moment I knew
I wouldn’t be back in this room
or in that bed
or under the two blankets
sleeping next to you without
a pillow because you only had one.
 
I took the T-shirt off and
didn’t listen to your explanation
of what it meant to you
and don’t remember if
I even asked
or if I said
something funny to blunt
how it felt being told
to leave this piece of you.
 
It was in that short sentence
I realized
you didn’t want any loose ends.
I would be a temporary connection,
an afterthought.
 
Now looking back
at a moment meant to mean nothing
but charged with more than
I could’ve grasped in the
fog of alcohol,
I wonder what it is
that T-shirt means to you.
 
Maybe you just like it.
It’s vintage and cool
and worn and
it looks like its traveled and
I loved the way it felt when I put it on.
 
When I took it off it felt cold and
used and I
wanted to tell you that I
didn’t want to take it from you
in the first place.
 
And in hindsight I know
that the t-shirt didn’t fit,
it wasn’t mine to wear.
Maybe the contrast of it on me
was too telling.
Maybe it was clear just how much
it did not belong to me.
 
It was that simple request
to leave what was yours
exactly where you wanted it
that led me to hear
what you have said from the start.
 
In the end,
I’m thinking
of how it felt
waking up to the sunrise
in a t-shirt that wasn’t my own.
 
I liked
wearing something
important to you and
although it was temporary
I liked how it felt.
I liked who I was in that t-shirt.

Ghosts

I won’t convince you either way.
You decided this
before you met me.

I picture
the ghosts
that may reside in your heart,
ones you haven’t made peace with.

I hope you find enough ground
to feel safe letting another in.
It seems that
in keeping people at a distance
they leave in the end.

A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perhaps you said those things
to be kind.
Or maybe they were your truth.
At any rate,
I wish your
heart
had room for me.

I’m no exorcist.
My light
shines too bright sometimes
in dark corners.
I can’t dim it.
Not even for you.

After I left your place,
I went to the water.
I’m not ready to
walk with this,
knowing our brief
encounters are over.

I sit in the heaviness of it,
equally as freeing for me,
as I know we negotiated
the best we could.

At the water I release
ghosts of my own.
I see them for what they are.

Some hope goes with them.
I see you with clear eyes.
Kind and gentle.
Perhaps lost in your own head.
Unsure, tempted and fearful.

I can’t pull out of you
words I’d like to hear.
I can’t hope you’ll become
something you are not.

Despite the release,
I'd like to believe
you won’t become
yet another ghost
my words try their best
to understand.

Side effect

It was one of those nights
where the phone 
and the distractions
couldn’t drain from me
the sharp ache of a feeling
I have no name for.
I have no space for.
 
I walked to the water’s edge
sought refuge among
the reflection of clouds
on the reservoir’s surface.
 
I see a man propose
to a woman in tears.
I stop to take a picture,
to preserve their moment,
to be a part of a love
that’s not my own.
For a moment 
I pretend
to know it.
 
Behind them
the clouds hang thick
covering a descending sun.
Stubborn in its want to be seen,
the sunset's rays emerge in fragments.
 
I let myself wonder about
the side effects
of falling 
without knowing what’s below.
 
There’s a certain kind of pain
that comes with the risk
in opening myself
without knowing how to close.
 
And I often wonder 
if this is what others feel
when they hope for 
something
someone
that may not belong to them.
 
It's dark now. 
The clouds have grown thicker.
I assess the risk 
in letting people in.
 
I’m so used to the sharp ones
the ones that bring with them
unintended consequences,
unexamined intentions.
 
As I walk to my car
leaving behind the water 
and the newly engaged couple,
I wonder the side effects
of pushing people away
or of letting myself be seen.
 
I am unsure which consequence 
I'm more willing to live with.