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.
Like a moth to a flame,
I, too, mistook you for a star.
I thought of you this morning, dear Josephine. In early spring, the dandelions became alive again in the garden you left behind. White parachutes of fickle seedlings, gone onto the same curving road you took to get away from here. I often wonder where you are, my sweet dandelion. The light’s filling up the sky as I am writing this letter to you, thinking of all the bright summers we’ve spent in this town; thinking of your liveliness, your sadness, the knot in your heart and all that gave you scars. Remember we used to run wild in the thick of the field, somehow seeing through the boarded sky that there would be a different life, two pebbles pattering in the palm of an invisible hand, your long hair windswept and struck by moonlight. The monotonous tide didn’t matter. The hunched backs of the fishermen didn’t matter. The cold rain, the wet grass, the wind maliciously tugging at our dresses didn’t matter. We were not afraid, Josephine, of what was beyond, or what came after. When we stood on the black rock cliff to watch the sunrise, a pair of white birds circled over us like impossible love, before diving into nothingness, never to be seen. You said that is how you like to go one day. You dreamt of a world that wanted you in it, that needed your wide teary eyes and tight fists. Years later, some say that this dream was not the right kind of dream, but rather an impish shove against the breakwater that no waves could ever defy. But I want to believe you haven’t given up living a good life wherever you are. Today as I sit under this old willow tree where we used to share tiny secrets, watching leaves fall as they fall without haste, my memory of you, laughing, and holding a conch to hear the sea, is what always remains.
Originally published on August 25, 2016 on my old blog.
A snowflake destined
for nothing but falling, fell
into the blue of an eye.
Oh, but to fall in love like that!