sequence (n).

In my mind I lined up all of my past loves
and the procession wrote a story on its own.

There was the dizzy of first love
and the caution of the last,
each countered and
contrasted the
man who came before them.  

There was the man who loved me deeply
and a man who couldn’t help himself
a man whose heart was locked away
and a man who shattered me with insults.
There was a man who woke early
and a man who wrote me letters
and all along
a man
who didn’t know
all of the ways
I loved him.

I think about the woman I have been
and the woman in each of their lenses.
I think about the woman I revealed to them,
in parts, shielding
what I thought they would think
is undesirable
(mostly, this heaviness).  
I think about the woman I contorted into,
the woman who
is fun to have at parties and
has many talents and
will think of gifts to bring your mother.

I think about the men who have loved
or not loved
or tried to love me.
I think
I am someone who knows how to love
but doesn’t know how
to let someone love me.

bard (n).

Tell me a story
about how you came to be.
Tell me
about your joy
quiet in its place
and
your sadness
which I think is
maybe
as great as a lake
but you have learned
to go out to the water
and find peace among
your sorrows that ripple
through the placid glass
the way the singing frogs do.

Tell me the story
about where you were going
when we met, we two
and what it was that
convinced you to
listen to my joy
and carry with me
my sorrow
down to the lake
where we set it free.

inconvenience (n).

Did it bother you,
the way I feel
heavy with sighs
and sorrows
and asking you to
look at your own?

Your own disgrace
your mother’s face
in your face
I could see it
in your eyes:
you wanted quiet
you wanted
me to unsee
what I saw:
which was
(naturally)
all of you,
heavy with sighs
and full of sorrow.
 

pilgrim (n).

I learned what church meant
when I walked across the length of Spain
when we, messy pilgrims,
told stories and broke bread
while our socks dried
on the line.

I learned what church meant
while sitting near the atlantic
with my kin
with scotch and campfire
with mysteries being listed
with no need for an answer.

I learned what church meant
while sitting with my father
in the darkest of times
and he spoke wordless prayers
and carried me with his faith
in a Creator
that didn’t create this.  

unattended (adj).

Loneliness is not
being without people;

loneliness is
being without yourself.

loneliness is
the lump in my throat and
the knot in my chest where
I carry all of the things that
I didn’t place in
the proper hands.

loneliness is
sharing what was meant
to be kept and
keeping what was meant
to be given.

I am here without
myself. There is no
greater affliction.

spark (n).

content warning: depression, self harm, suicide

you wanted your death to mean something
you wanted
everyone (anyone) to look at
the bullying
and the shame
and the isolation of your illness
and the anguish of losing your mother
so we can continue your fight for you
because you couldn't carry it anymore. 

(we will, we saw you, we see them, and more clearly). 

you wanted your death to mean something. 
I want you to know:
your life meant something too;
and you were so precious,
and so fleeting. 
 

consume (v).

I do not want to be
a creature of fear

I do not want to
go to the river
and,
water whispering
at my ankles,
climb back up
onto the rocks
because the current
sounds like it could
swallow me.

I do not want to be
a creature of fear.
I do not want to be
a woman made of
apologies and
shrinking or
mastering the art
of cowering.

And also I am afraid
that this is who
I could be becoming.

scribe (n).

I tell you everything
I haven’t told you
with my hands
tracing words
across your shoulders
(the place where
you carry your heaviest things)
writing

I Would Wait
and
I See All Of You
and also
I am not afraid.

I trace words
across your shoulders
(the place where
my head so easily rests)
(the place where you
carry your fear).

she (pr).

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we define
womanhood as
being able to
give birth
but

I do not want to
(I do not feel called to)
(I do not see myself to)
(I do not feel compelled to)
(I have no longing to)
be a mother.

Is it woman enough to
(as in, am I allowed to)
give birth
to
these words
and
fiercely protect
and
feel, fully
and
never apologize
for
what I know
is mine to foster?

I have bled
but also carried
guilt and burden
and honor.

I have bled
but also carried
my heartsong
timid and
fierce into
each morning
that is, 
new beginning. 

covert (adj).

You sift through my writing
searching for some sort of sign
as if I have placed something
quietly
for you to uncover yourself
if you were to look hard enough

why would I hide
my love from you
why would you think
it would be disguised

I have done my part:
I have come out to the ocean
I have come looking for you
I have called your name over and
over

I am waiting for you
to send back a flare.

define (v).

What is love except
my name on your lips
turning to honey

your face in my mind
when I need light

my heart on your sleeve
kept for your keeping

your hand in my hair
anchors my worrying

my letter on your shelf
creased from revisiting 

Your eyes on my eyes
reaching to find me 

my laugh in your smile
I'm warm when I warm you

Your breath on my shoulder
as another day ends. 

terrain (n).

you are made of earth
you are made of clay and
the rock walls that make mountains
you are made of sand
the way you let my tide brush up beside
(but not sink into) you.

you are granite and stone
how your face gives nothing away
and holds everything in
but you are soft like the pillowy soot
when the fire is done burning
and our feet and cheeks are warm
and everything has finally been said
and we were ablaze but we didn't
burn down did we? 

you told me your chest is full of gravel
but when I bring my hand there
all I feel is soil
all I see is a field
all I hear is the whistle of air
brushing the seedlings' reaching sprouts.