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.
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.
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.
This Christmas she received
a four-wheel-walker, each wheel in place
of a child who couldn’t come home.
When I was young, I once found
a loose thread
on a brand new sweater.
Not knowing what it did, I pulled on it,
and I kept on pulling,
until I found out.
Every time your fingers dance on my skin, kindling
every fiber of my body into a wildfire,
I think about that loose thread and what it did.
I think about how that beautiful sweater
slowly shrivelled into nothing,
a pile of messy yarn.
her lover makes her feel
like a schoolgirl
on fire drill days.
excited, heart pounding, running
through emergency exit, skipping down
countless flights of stairs, breathless, intoxicated, a rush, so much
fear and despair, and then
she turns around and walks back
into the building, safely in one piece,
no smoke, no burn, no damage. love
does not hurt, her lover says, but
very late at night she
secretly wishes to be engulfed
in a real fire.