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.

on regrets

I didn’t believe them
when they said I’d regret;

I’d build
and we'll grow into 
twisted and tiny fragments
of what came before.

When I sit in pause 
they come to me 
in bursts 
and breezes 

I can regret
and accept 
all in one breath. 

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.

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.


Hands

I left you in July,
started again in August. 
I’ll spend September 
wondering how
you are. 

You sat there
holding my hands,

“I don’t want to 
let you go,”

You implored,
as if you could not see
that I no longer knew 
the hands in my own. 

I knew you no more
or no less
than I had
the July before
or the one before that. 

“I miss that special bond,”

He said to me, a week after. 

What bond 
is silent,
I wanted to ask. 

What bond 
exists only 
in two laptop screens
and a tv monitor 
a late night cuddle,
a quick- paced walk. 

Perhaps you did know me
more than I knew you. 

Maybe I let you know me. 

The me that left 
and rose from your
bedroom floor
knows not 
of how or why 
two years from the day 
I asked for promises 
changed everything 
I thought I wanted.