Hell, I don’t even know how to feel yet.
I vibrate from feeling to feeling so quickly,
gliding from one to the next, never really touching down.
I smile or laugh, but the remembrance swipes it off my face.
She whispers in my ear that she doesn’t want the smiles to be stolen away, but I love her.
I knew it was coming.
But, I’m not prepared to watch her suffer.
I’m not ready to let her go.
There’s a poem in this place,
in the not-quite-silence of the early morning,
in the constant companionship of the ticking of the clock,
and in the furry paw falls across the laminate floor.
It is here where a woman writes a lyric she no longer whispers to say.
There’s a poem in this place,
in its second-hand, blue collar grace,
in its well-worn wooden things and well kept lawn,
and in the backyard garden boxes engineered by her youngest daughter.
It is here where she has planted roots.
There’s a poem in this city,
in these tree-lined, bicycle-ridden streets,
in the laughter that makes its way through the open windows, lighter than the air,
and in the warmth in the smile from the elderly woman across the street.
It is here where her heart became full.
There’s a poem in his eyes, always,
in the way she says his name,
in the history they hold between their hands,
and in the future for which they know only one certainty: together.
It is here where she knows home.
you hug her with flippant arms,
kiss her with lips pursed with words lying in wait,
listen with ears that scramble her station unrecognizable;
it may as well be static
and she looks at you with knowing eyes,
her lungs crackling with the laughter of too many ghosts,
your name a promise beaconed by her light and slipped into the glass bottle that is her heart,
knowing there’s a chance it might break
even though she wishes she did not;
you love her with a squeaky, newborn heart,
with words that are too large to fit through the close-knit threading of your ego,
protecting a past that fear keeps you from seeing through a microscopic lens,
so the words bury themselves in infertile soil,
never to bloom
maybe she could sacrifice,
maybe she could stay;
you ask her to,
you say you’ll change
maybe I could give up parts of myself for you,
maybe I could go without,
maybe he will really change
but who would she be if she lived her life fishing empty glass bottles from a perpetually low tide?
the cool morning air overtaking,
waking her lungs,
her feet slapping a predictable rhythm on the uneven concrete,
its percussive resonance a an engulfing metronome clearing all the clutter away,
and she began noticing things
she noticed the numerous lawns and landscapes in various conditions,
the lamenting of the brown patches declaring their unwanted stagnancy,
the vibrant shouting of greens and purples,
the yellows opening their faces to the sun in triumphant hello,
the bright whites in such sharp contrast to it all,
as if unable to conceal their joy
she noticed all the houses she passed,
the worn spots on the front doors from years of seeking entry into something familiar,
all the lives that lived within the many colored walls,
the stories she’d never know
she noticed the moments that passed,
the hands on her watch ticking them by as the world moved past in tiny fragments like a viewfinder,
realizing that so many moments aren’t just moments,
and life is a thing to celebrate
I watch her move through the motions,
real emotion wearing a half-mask,
her eyes telling a story that’s never been spoken,
and probably never will,
seventy plus years of doing the next easiest thing,
not necessarily the next right one
it’s such a long road,
pebbles from our shared path littering my own,
and sometimes I feel guilty as hell for just being able to live my life;
there should be a word for this,
the way it feels to steal something that’s already yours
they’d loved one another for so long,
and sometimes life began to feel a little rote,
but when they came together,
they forgot the lists and routines,
they forgot who they were and what brought them together
but she didn’t forget he was the most trustworthy, honest, and compassionate human she’d ever known,
the reason she could be who she was in every moment
and he didn’t forget she was the empathic fire at his backside,
a simple woman with a complicated heart,
the beating of his own heart
what happened between them was always unexpected;
in these moments a new future opened wide –
a world where anything could happen and nothing was impossible