When he kissed you slowly;
when he called you baby;
when he held your hand and
carefully traced his thumb
over the back of your hand;
when he pulled you close
and said, ‘stay, we have so much time.’
These were the moments,
small, quiet, euphoric moments
that look liked love, felt like love,
that could almost be love.
But every night when you fell
asleep, your heart remained still;
It didn’t ache nor flutter;
It didn’t hope nor despair.
So you know, you know, oh
you must know,
it never was love.
After work she went to the store
to pick up coffee filters and diapers,
a carton of eggs and
a bag of day-old raisin bread.
The tomatoes were on sale that day,
At the canned goods aisle she forgot
what she needed to get from there.
Was it cream of mushroom or baked beans?
She stood there quietly for a long while,
trying to remember,
how did she end up here?
Back home there are dishes
to be washed, trash to be taken out.
A small child crying.
A man who pretends not to hear.
And the sun is quietly disappearing
behind its own purple haze.
Two grocery bags,
heavy as iron in her arms,
and she was miles
and miles away from home.
is this tattoo on my left wrist,
from a ragged scar that once was
a wound that bled for years and years.
Poetry is making heartbreak beautiful again.
Turn the light off, let’s fold
our bodies like pages
of a love letter written
decades ago; slow
kissing each word from
my dearest all the way
down to forever yours.
Like a moth to a flame,
I, too, mistook you for a star.
Seven Year Itch
The therapist says we should go back
to the orange groves in Florida again.
Some people write you poems – love poems
that could burn a house down in your chest –
they leave you breathless, leave you longing,
and then they just leave, so fast you could taste
dust in your mouth. Some people linger like a
fog, want to stay friends, want to come over
when they feel lonely. Some people forget
to wash the dirty dishes in the sink, forget to
buy milk, forget your birthday and the way
you used to laugh. Some people wake up at night
to tuck the blanket under your chin. Some people
love to exclaim, look what I have done for you!
Some people kiss to turn you inside out,
to adore every secret corner. They kiss
as if your lips were home, haven, the place
that they want to stay forever. Some people
kiss so they could go somewhere else, eyes
open, hands fumbling with your blouse buttons.
Some people can’t say I love you until
they’ve studied your past, the exes you’ve
dated, the mistakes you’ve made. God knows
there must be a war raging inside their soul.
Some people chase wild things, hunt them at night
for thrills, and stumble back to your bed at
five a.m., smelling of cheap booze and
strangers. Some people want to bake all kinds
of bread for you, stay home with you, cuddles
and warm socks, hot cocoa on the couch.
Some love is the fire that warms you through and
through, and you will never grow cold again.
Some love is the gum that gets stuck underneath
your shoes. Makes you walk unevenly for miles.
Becomes nasty. Becomes quite impossible to get rid of.
the funny feeling of
an orange popsicle
Standing at the Altar
He steals a glance at her.
She sits in the back, fighting tears.
The bride marches in, smiling, holding peonies.
I want to read the story
that you would have written
if you weren’t afraid, he said,
tell me where you have been,
the nameless cliff that you
fell from, turn it to words,
and keep writing until
it has lost its power
to hurt you.