picture

I walked the stairs 
to your place

using the key
i let myself
in

like nothing 
had changed.

I dropped some 
things off
in what feels like
a final exchange

I walked through the 
rooms and 
saw the picture of us
taken off the wall

A part of me knew 
that would happen,
eventually

and I'm not sure 
how I would have
felt if you'd 
left it hanging 

I moved to your
cupboard
noticed a card
I had given you
7 months in 

I read the promise
I  made 

that at the time you
could not return

I turned around
and noticed
the picture of us 
on the floor. 

The same floor
that held us
the night we ended

It feels more final, now
solidified here in this 
image on the floor
and the empty wall

I now know
that my first time
in Amsterdam with you
will be my last

the picture is the 
last piece of the 
puzzle that we
never finished
because I
didn't have all 
of the pieces

and neither did you -

at least, not ones
that fit my own

but we tried.
I know we did.

Those two 
people in that picture
did their best
and grew apart
loved deeply
and tried again

I hope you take the 
picture off the floor,
store it in a place
where one day you can
look back and smile
and know that on 
that balcony

we laughed
we had hope

we loved. 


Fireworks

I wanted to 
write
in biting
verse

Asking about
your party
and my friends
in attendance

I’d make some
metaphor about
Independence Day

I wanted to
lash out
and ask
how the space
felt as you
hosted.

I’m still angry -

I’m still grateful.

I’m not going
to maneuver my
schedule around
your’s, anymore.

And I won’t
reach for you
in drunken texts
or in venomous
poems.

In the end
all it is
is missing you
and us
and the summer
before

And if I can’t
let go
I hope you can.

I hope you find
better

I hope it’s
more than
fireworks.

Oh,
didn’t I tell you?

I repel
the explosions
and the smoke

Sometimes
I hate them.

The empty sky
and hidden stars
once the show
ends.

But you’re
not them
and you’re
no performance

You’re sun
in February
and lightning
in June.

You are joy.

“How was your party?”

I’ll ask, pointedly.

“Did you see fireworks?”

And if you ask if I
saw them, too,
I’ll nod and smile
in the same
restrained way
you smile at me, now.

“Sure, I saw them,”

knowing damn well
I didn’t even look.

Split

“Stay present,” 

He advises.

Lovingly;
Selflessly

“I don’t want
you split between
two places.”

I want to laugh

You see,
you’ve been with
me, in the
mountains of
West Virginia.

Along the shores
of the
Great Lakes.

I saw you in
the mouth of
Mammoth Cave.

When the fireworks
reflected in
the D.C. waters.

I haven’t left
your hometown
in weeks.

“I’ll do my best,”

I assure him.

I’ve been trying
to untangle my
feet
wrestle them into
one place

For over a year.

D minor

There are only so many 
chords and notes

I haven’t learned them
all and I’m not sure if -

Are these enough?

I know rhythms that
we've created
in innocent
moments

then there are the ones
he, of course,
added to
and spontaneously -

it's fluid and changing
and the lyrics do not
fit or seem to end -

Falter.
I’m no braver today
than yesterday.

I want to add to it
but what I have in front
of me can only take me
so far.

You see,
I wrote you a song.

I play it,
wondering
the ways you would
respond

Would you make it your own?

Would you want it to change?

The song starts in minor
the sound of its harmony
fades
into uncertainty.

What would you say
if I asked you to
finish it,
together?

I know the answer.

That’s not even the
right question.

I’m really asking -

Do you hear it in the
same ways
I do?

So far from the keys,
I don’t have the
ability
to write its end.

It’s there, though,
in chords and
notes that only
you know.

it flows, you see,
for you, alone.








Choice

Does it always 
come to this?

fire and ice

Blue springs or
Rainy canals

the dancing flames
blue reflections
they revel in
their changing
views

Let the answer exist
in the ampersand.

Until then
I’ll find my
joy
in long walks
coffee after dinner

I’ll pick
mulberries
and
listen to his
singing

I’ll run, steady
until the answer
reveals itself.

You see -

Both
forces
have the capacity

to burn.

luggage

behind every shining
paper 
and mention

lives the truth of
the esteemed

the person 
lives 
in the world of
stories
ideas
regrets
and wishes

day after day
and into the night

adventures
failures
dreams and terrors

do you think these meet her ears
and fall to the floor

burrow beneath the skin
she is not infallible.

"Go live -
I'll keep these
stories safe."

The esteem exists
in the trust between people
in vulnerability.

Therapists listen 
they try their best
to live fully 
knowing truths of life
so many attempt
to keep 
locked away 
unpacked in
luggage

loves

and in the end
or the beginning

which ever end
you start to
untangle or
string together

it's in loving them

both

that will
restore

or
renew

which ever
frame you
choose
it’ll be the
same picture

It’s not one
or the other

I keep trying to
picture either
course

and they begin
with loose ends
and finish
in tight knots

I’d rather hold
both

if they let me.

Full

Kisses fall to my forehead 
to the crevice of my neck

"What are you doing?"

I ask,  
laughing,
holding his face between 
my hands.

"I don't want you to run out."

He kisses my forehead, again.

"Then I need 10 more."

He takes my face in his hands.

"There,"

he responds,
looking satisfied.,

"I gave you 12."