Appetizer

"Can we table this conversation?"

He asks.

Two glasses of red wine
rest between us.
He plays with the stem
with his stable hand.

I do not respond.

I know he cannot
answer what
I want answered.

I look at him,
overcome with
a sorrow
that the blue of his eyes
does not calm.

"This is the first serious
relationship
I've experienced."

He continues,

"I do not want
my life to feel
settled yet."

As I watch his
lips move
I hear
a different narrative
an unsaid message.

He takes a bite
of the appetizer
in front of us.

It's come before
we've ordered
the main course.

I watch as he
enjoys its taste.
He takes another bite.

"What should we order next?"

He asks, excitedly.

Next?

I want to ask.

Isn't this enough?

Explore

"I want to explore the world,
with you,"

He says, imploring.

"I want to explore this city,
together."

He smiles.

I look at him
at his crystal,
calculating eyes.

"My love,"

I want to say.

"There's only one thing
I want to explore
."

Instead I laugh
placing my arms
around his shoulders.

We stay like this
as he rocks side to side
breathing in my hair.

He heads into the bedroom
signaling the end of
the conversation.

"You,"
I whisper
as he disappears
around the corner.

Meditate

The doctor
asks me
if I meditate.

He tells me
it may help
alleviate
my anxiety
my (often) self-made
turmoil.

I smile.

“Sure,”

I say.

I meditate
in the mornings
when his
hand reaches
under
the covers
for my own.

I meditate
under the rays
of the rising sun
as I
listen to his sounds
of sleep.

I meditate
in the smell
of his skin
on the constellation
of his sun spots
in the wrinkles
around his mouth
as he smiles.

"Yes,"

I continue.

"I meditate every day."

I meditate
to my heart’s song
and the rhythm
it shares with his.

meanings

I see meaning 
in the lovely
ways you
exist and
engage
in the world.

It's
in the way you
reminisce
about our first kiss
and the ramen noodle date
and the flirting that
grew to a
connection that
longed
for love.

It's
in the way you
sleep
on your stomach
one hand left open
for my own.

It's
your loving
touches
under the table
while we’re out
with our friends.

You called me
robust.
You called me
strong.

It's
the way you
don’t make fun
you do not dismiss
you support
and you encourage.

“I never want to let you go.”

I hope your words
mean as much to you
as they do
me.

I hope these loving
ways
mean what I
long for them
to mean.

Sand

I arrive at the 
front door of a house
that holds
the dynamics
of family 
as pervasive
and as deep
as a bloodline. 

At the doorstep I
witness the
lines of 
victim-hood
blended with
the incessant
need to be right.

In the doorway
I take a breath
in anticipation.

I notice the sand
that's been carried in on
the feet of
my beloved
family members.

I don't want to feel
the sand
on the bottoms of my own
or on the seat of my chair
or the floor of the shower.

I wonder
about the
rifts 20 years
in the making 
and what they've
done to the floors
of this home.

They seem as
ubiquitous
and invisible
until felt
as the sand that
found its way
into the
fabrics
of this family.

The floors take the brunt of it
scratched and rubbed down
until layers of coating
are exposed raw
until the foundation of this
home cannot
hold the weight
of what we bring to it.

At the doorway
I look inside.
I see my mom and
her sister sitting
at the kitchen table.

I wonder what it is
I do not know
about the sand
between their own toes
particles they may not even
feel anymore
since its become
ingrained
into the way things are.

I don't want to feel
the sand
on the bottoms of my feet
or on the seat of my chair
or the floor of the shower.

Sand belongs on the
shoreline
where the ocean can
do with it
as she pleases.

Here, the sand
clogs and scratches
it irritates and hollows.

I take another breath
remove my shoes.
I wash my feet of the
abrasive
and the stubborn.

I take care not to step
in the sand
my family
carries in.