Chamomile

They dried its flowers 
and stems. 

He tells me its name
in his native tongue.

I do not understand, at first
until I smell its fragrance
floral and sweet;
subtle.

Chamomile.

He directs me upstairs
in broken English;
I pray I understand enough.

"Grab a bunch,
wrapped
in newspaper."

There in the attic
of the duplex that
two brothers 
made homes,

I find the dried stems
and flower -

Grown in the garden
that's fed family
for 60 years.


I bring down a bundle
and she, before she lost
herself,
stands at
the stove,
boils a pot of water
and grabs a handful
as the water simmers.

She makes tea

she makes tea for 
her and I
but doesnt drink a sip

she watches me
drink

she smiles.

Now
years later
chamomile 
will remind me of them;
their home and their 
garden.

How fitting.

This flower 
holds many 
salves

Its simple yet
honored

Its humble
and enduring.

Chamomile 
becomes
the symbol
of my roots.  



the fawn

I called to make peace,
my head both 
raised and bowed
in defense and apology

Her words biting 
and wounded,

"I think you're fake,"

She adds,

"You're a fake ass bitch."

I politely disagree.
I attempt repair.
I feel both scorned
and pushed away.

I feel defeat
and self-protection.

Years later, 
I wonder about her words.

I decide that, 
maybe I am.

You see, 
being nice isn’t always the answer.

And I’ve learned that the hard way.

or so they say

Isn't it often
told that love
finds us when we
are least expecting it

Like a crash landing
both expected and
surprising

they'll
stretch and look around
in both relief
and gratitude

Left with lingering
anxiety
intertwined with
excitement

I think of this narrative
with a half smile,
a small chuckle.

You see,
I know better than
to allow
or embrace
this serendipitous
storyline

Baby,
I carefully
and backbreakingly
built this ground

for years.

Horizon

Should I leave us
on that shore
with the imperfect shells
under our hardened feet

your hope matching
the aquamarine of
the gentle waves

mine hollow,
hidden
like the sun below
the separation
of sky and sea

(we jumped to
see its final rays
below)

In letting you go
I fear losing
healthy and
consistent
experiences
of love, perceived

(this loss feels paralyzing)

but if we
keep
on that
shore
jumping to see the
sun's descent

If I hold us
in that water
with the steady waves
and unfiltered sun

Perhaps it won't
be a loss at all.

Maybe its
always been
a gain

I'm not there, yet
the finality of
the goodbye

I still hold on
to memories like
they're fallible

like they are
at risk of
slipping away
if I don't focus
hard enough

But soon I know
it's coming;

the sun is setting
behind its
horizon line

and this time

I won't jump
to watch it
fall.

Garage

One night after
a day of
let downs and
all the rest

I parked my car
in its spot;
let the engine run.

I couldn’t
step out
or turn the
engine off.

You came running
down the stairs
to my door.

You reached in,
turned off the car,
guided me out.

I thought maybe
that could be
enough

Fleeting
yet powerful
moments of love.

Temporary

I so badly wanted it
to be you.

It was temporary.
We were, that is.

That made it
no less real.

I sure did
like to pretend,
though.

I held on
just in case
i was proven
wrong.

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. 

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.


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.