Even as I bring nothing with me
even as you have your own fears lingering
even as I don’t know what to do next
even as you wake from dreams that startle you
even as I leave the city I’ve known
even as you concede your whole world to me,
off we go, towards each other.
[Photo by Max Wanger].
I relate to the trees at this time of year,
the way they are spilling and shedding;
what a grand spectacle they make out of
the act of letting go. They do it not
with floods but fire, they do it not
quietly but in a chorus of rustling, they do it not
swiftly, rather one branch at a time,
releasing, setting it down, laying to rest
anything that no longer serves them.
I’m not sure what I dream about anymore –
there is the song, written and then forgotten,
there is the matter of home, wherever that is,
there is the love that I was banking on, and he
found a life in another land.
Where does it come from, the new vision,
and how will it arrive?
I have sat at the altar and prayed.
I have dyed my hands in ink and waited
in the meantime for the muse.
I have built a home within myself.
I have, in the meantime, loved others.
I have filled my body with straw and string
ready to turn to fire at any time.
I know that currently it feels like
even the air doesn’t belong
to you but know that
every corner of the world
is yours, every
dream that catches
your eye and lights
your spirit, they belong,
just as your thumb
and its print are yours,
the love you
has been there waiting since
your very first breath.
How does my heart expand in this way
that it makes room to carry the heartache,
sticky and complicated, and also
the light of new love? I marvel that
I can reel in pain and swell with hope
all at once as if those feelings are dogs
wrestling, they tug and tease each other
and tumble to the ground.
I try to write and can’t, it’s stuck
below the rock in my stomach and
the pebbles that line my throat and
the sand that fills my head.
I look out to the trees for some kind of truth.
I look out to my neighbours walking and wonder
if they have more answers than I do.
I look down into my coffee cup and appreciate
its loyalty and powers. I look to my mother
and ask if I’m doing the right thing. I look to
my hands and ask them to write anyway.
I worry I might get stuck in the place
that I go where the impossibilities
build a casing around me and the choir
of my doubt drowns out the sound of reason.
You catch it often, I get there in a flash
with the tilt of my head and the crease
in my brow and you say where did you go and
how can I get you back?
Keep calling, I want to be back
in the land of the living and back
in the golden hour of your love.
In packing up I am thinking about
the things we take with us and
what we leave behind. What do
I take with me, these belongings
that have paid into my façade of
togetherness, the blankets that
have warmed me, the letters and
books that taught me to feel?
I don’t recognize the wildness in me,
this woman who is unafraid of
setting it all on fire and skipping
town, I get giddy at times, what fun
to have just a bag and everything
that I carry with me in this itchy heart.
Don’t forget about
The Gift, which sits,
ready and waiting,
in the landing of
your being, rooted
to your veins, fueled
by your laughter, ignited
by the fire in your eyes, nourished
simply by the breaths you take.
You do not have to
wait for any particular
call to greatness to
partake in what it
has planned for you.
Here in the belly of my heart
is the dream that I will
have made something
I carry it on my body, all
the words you spoke to me:
in my knees’ ligaments are
all the times you asked for patience,
and above my brow are the
words you said as you stood
by my door, about to leave;
here in the wrinkles of my
fingers are a count of
every word you didn’t say
but I could see them in your eyes,
and my palms hold the
way you first said I love you
(nervous and sad),
and here in the curve of
my ribs are the words
you spoke to tell me
all the ways I let you down.
At night I lower myself into bed and
I feel the creaks in my joints,
achy from your cadence.
In the morning I rise and
feel all the dreams we made
rustling through my hair.
Are you happy here,
does your body feel
free and light, is there
a softness to your
wondering, is there
a kindness to the way
you speak to yourself as
your day begins?
At first I didn’t recognize our love because
it wasn’t masked by something else, it wasn’t
muddied with requirements, it wasn’t
latched onto past hurts, it wasn’t
compensating for our disappointments, it wasn’t
demanding a particular response, it wasn’t
accompanied by a list of my faults, it wasn’t
heavy from expectation.
It was just waiting for us like
the morning waits, with delicate curiosity,
patient as I stumble to the kitchen
to put the kettle on.
What do I have to say for this life?
I have tried to make soft and beautiful things
I have tried to get to work on time
I have tried to be a good daughter
I have tried to get together for dinner
I have tried to understand
I have tried to see some of the world
I have tried to get myself to the ocean
I have tried to worry only about the important things
I have tried to love you
I have tried to not love you.
Let’s not hurry to get over
the moments that hold us, either
in joy or in sorrow, both
are made of the stuff that
make us brave and tender.
The universe has been quite
chatty lately, with all its signs and
signals. Here I was this whole time,
pressing my ear to the wall when
I could have just gone
to the front door and
let the whole world in, letting
it know I am ready to be
on the lookout for magic.
This isn’t coming naturally, these words,
dusted off and dirty
my vision, blurred and averted
my heart, haggard and tired.
This doesn’t feel brave, this work
of feeling, this work of
making sense of the world through
line and lyric, this work of
The cab driver tells me
I wish I could write, you guys
get to be the narrators
of our times.
I should invite him in to see
the desk that greets me with
pages full of nonsense and
this mind full of sand, I could
pour us some scotch and we
could have a good laugh
at what the history books
will say next.
In my experience, you will
continue to find new words for
old feelings until you get it all
out of your system, and those can
linger in your veins for a long while.
I am fairly certain I will
never run out of words for
everything that happened
and everything we became
after we became
aware of each other.
The things you left have become relics
of our love. You were surgical
about returning my belongings,
all at once and neatly.
Meanwhile I keep
the jar you filled with whiskey
that we brought to the winter market,
meanwhile one of your socks is mingled
in with mine in the drawer,
meanwhile the microwave stays at
1:17 from the morning you warmed
your coffee after it sat.
Where do I keep it all, the things
that belonged only to us?