Loss

There is an understanding 
that emerges
with the experience of loss.

It's an emptiness
and fullness.
Grief mixed with hope.

It could be
two people
in different life events,
unmatched feelings,
let downs.

Whether potential is not met
or another chooses
to withhold contact,
it seems important to lose
because it means
one was open
to gain.

The loneliness remains
in the idea
that one day
there could be
connection and joy
in the company of another.

There seems to be
something compelling
in the act
of losing the potential
of another.

I want to acknowledge
that loss
doesn't mean
something was lost.

Shoreline

Paused,
I stood on the boardwalk
unsure of how close
to the Atlantic's edge
I could allow 
my planted feet.

I slept on the beach
as the sun drifted
to horizon
and I still
could not touch my
body to the 
water.

I knew then
that if I 
sought peace
at the shoreline
I would find myself there.

Yearning and sad.
Emptying what 
came before 
and making space
for the new.

Unsure if I could
continue grieving
what came and went,
what did not
happen.

Hoping for more
and fearing the possibility
all at once. 

The shoreline contained
both open and closed ends
of whatever it is
that led me to the ocean water.

The shore revealed
all parts of me
alone and seeking
something other
than the company
of my own mind.

And so I left
the ocean
and its company
a day early
because I was not ready
to hold
what its waters
led me
to face.

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?
 

Ghosts

I won’t convince you either way.
You decided this
before you met me.

I picture
the ghosts
that may reside in your heart,
ones you haven’t made peace with.

I hope you find enough ground
to feel safe letting another in.
It seems that
in keeping people at a distance
they leave in the end.

A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perhaps you said those things
to be kind.
Or maybe they were your truth.
At any rate,
I wish your
heart
had room for me.

I’m no exorcist.
My light
shines too bright sometimes
in dark corners.
I can’t dim it.
Not even for you.

After I left your place,
I went to the water.
I’m not ready to
walk with this,
knowing our brief
encounters are over.

I sit in the heaviness of it,
equally as freeing for me,
as I know we negotiated
the best we could.

At the water I release
ghosts of my own.
I see them for what they are.

Some hope goes with them.
I see you with clear eyes.
Kind and gentle.
Perhaps lost in your own head.
Unsure, tempted and fearful.

I can’t pull out of you
words I’d like to hear.
I can’t hope you’ll become
something you are not.

Despite the release,
I'd like to believe
you won’t become
yet another ghost
my words try their best
to understand.

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.