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.

Burn

There is pain
at the center of my chest
it reaches for cold,
anything to soothe the fire
you had no intention of lighting.

Tell me,
what is the antidote
to loneliness?
To rejection?

You do not reach out.
It hurts more than if
you’d simply write
to tell me
I am not the one for you.

I am burning, burning,
don’t you see?

Moments and meaning and time
swirling around,
wasted.

Wasted on
thinking of a love
that never began
or lasted
long enough
for it to burn.

Language Barrier

In Portuguese
you describe
the point in your life
when you decided
to free yourself
from ties and commitment,
accountability.

In English
you said,

“Yes, I’m open.”

In your language,
in your truth,
you come to terms
with your spirit,
split in two
half existing elsewhere
the other seeking joy, here.

A vagabond has no home.
Potentially aimless,
leaving ruin in some places.
Excitement in others.

A vagabond cannot hold
what I’m asking to be held.

In your language, you proclaim,

“Eu ainda estou levando esta vida.”

Vagabundeando.

I reach for you in my own language.
Your answer is a mixture of
words I do not understand.

"Come here,"

I want to say.

Make a home in my chest,
have adventures with me.

You choose something else,
a different life.
A different person.
You choose everything but me.

I am no place for a vagabond.
I may be searching
but this heart has roots.

you were what I called home

I often wonder if you
remember the falling.
It felt like coming home to me.
Until the inevitable
came like the change of seasons,
we turned
unrecognizable.
 
The memory of what was
comes to me in flashbacks.
We grew up together in
hushed,
private moments
navigating the wax and wane
of an intimacy too mature
for what we could know of it.
 
I was 13 the first time you
threatened it.
I was 14 when you really tried.
 
The in between is what I remember most.
The scent of your
black Pink Floyd hoodie,
smelling of your mom's cigarette smoke
and Tide detergent.
 
Like something out of our control
what was once supportive and pure
turned toxic.
Expectations became chains.
You told our friends stories.
They called me a whore.
 
I learned to lie and manipulate.
Dishonesty
felt safer than
truth-telling.
The alternative
lead to an abuse
I still hear my own
voice use against me
13 years later.
 
Slowly I
lost myself in the sensation
of becoming nothing
beyond the pleasing
and the apologies.
 
Love and safety became
foreign and unattainable.
I sometimes avoid turning my
phone on ring
it reminds me of the time you called
so I’d hear every sound
of what you said I led you to do.
 
Now I exist in nights
that come
after a day of supporting others
and I wonder if love
is something
only other people can experience.
 
You tried to escape life
and left me holding the responsibility
in hands that I still
wash raw trying
to make peace with the shame.
 
I try to find new ways
in relating to others
and still find myself
staring into
hands
that do what they can
with what they know.
 
Now they aim to heal
rather than defend,
to absorb love
 
and yet
 
I was taught to swallow whole
the blame
to hold the responsibility
to jump to conclusions
before I am surprised with
another blow.
 
I'm now just beginning to
understand
that my home is meant to be
stable
and consistent in its
giving and receiving.
My home is meant to
grow rather than deplete.
 
What am I to do
when home
crumbles
from the very touch
of my own hands
scratching
at the surface
of love?
 

Unexpected

I was hoping 
you’d be
unexpected.
 
I found you by chance
reading words written
by your own hand.
 
Sweet mannerisms.
I began to imagine
how you'd feel
moving with me,
creating something
with more than our minds.
 
Soon it became clear
this chance encounter
this unexpected meeting
my forwardness,
a story I’d like to fall into,
would not turn out as anticipated.
 
The result leaves me
feeling bewildered,
saddened
when the ending
unexpectedly changes.
 
I am left
still holding my pen
writing all that I hoped would be
even when evidence
so clearly indicates
a diverging plot.
 
And maybe the unexpected in this
will be more than
unfulfilled hope.
Perhaps I will discover
the art of listening,
accepting where you end
and I begin.
  
I will,
in the unexpected,
navigate voicing my own wants
I’ll attempt to let go
when my needs aren’t met,
and when my wants come second
to yours.