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.

spotlight

the scene was 
static

and as you approached
the only light left
was (on) you

“You’re the dancer,”

he introduced, smiling.

“Yes,”

I managed.

I look back
at that moment, frozen.
It melts as
the light transforms 
into a spotlight 

Make music,
I want to say to you.

watch me dance
for you.

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.

problems

have i told you
the realization
i've come to
as the fireworks 
blazed
and time told us
to start again

i've determined
that most (all) 
of the problems i encounter
are of my own 
making

they belong to me
and in this conclusion

behind the regret and
the defensiveness 

lives the answer
that all along
i've had the power
and potential
to heal.

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.
I
wonder
about the people

the ones who 
slip off their coat
and place it on the seat
or above
in the train's 
compartment

I 
wonder 
about the
ones who 
keep their coats 
on

the ones who haven't 
yet settled in

the ones who are
ready to leave

I think there's a real difference
between the two.

Seashell

There is
something
to the idea 
of riding the wind 
instead of stubbornly 
trying to change its direction.

I walk to the ocean's edge 
find a seashell in the sand 
I toss it back to the water. 
It doesn’t belong to me anyway. 

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.

She calls me tresora

I help care for my Nanna. 
My father and uncle hold her
as my mother and I clean her.
 
She sits and cries,
 
“You should not see this, Marisa.”
 
“I’m happy to be here Nanna. I need to be.”
 
“I want to kiss you.”
 
I lean in, place
my forehead against her lips.
We sit like this for a moment.
 
The quiet is treasure,
just as she’s called me her’s
all my life.
And just like that,
the moment flees.
 
The chaos begins again.
Love in its many forms.
Suffering, too.