It’s a Given

It’s got to be summer.
The windows are down.
“Chicken Fried”
or “Brown Eyed Girl”
or something that is
warm, wind-in-air
plastered smiles,
hands raised through a
sun roof
is playing off the radio.

This is my version,
so we’re driving down the Causeway.
And the reeds are whipping
to and fro
and your fingers are locked with mine
hand is raised to your lips,
because you know I like that.
And you let me sing,
you smile when I dance in the passenger seat.

We hit the bridge
the same time as the chorus.
I look out over the river
I’ve grown up
and around
and between from
and thank God for the marshland.
Thank God for the tiny hometown
where I spent summers feeding ducks,
writing on the porch swing,
letting the sun kiss me in all the places
you will touch so tenderly.

And when we reach the curb at my mom-mom’s,
you walk around the car,
open my door
and start singing to me,
as I lead you down the street,
past my church,
holding your hand,
taking you through my childhood,
enjoying a summer day,
realizing love can be
warm, no traffic,
fireflies at the first sign of dusk,
laughter in the
moon light


Us: The Complexity

“Come Together” was playing on the radio

and you turned the dial.

I should have turned to look at your profile then,

though I’ve dreamt of it previously to the point

where I didn’t know the difference between memory, reality, and fantasy.

And it’s weird to me,

that I can’t remember exactly what you look like when you’re away,

but when I see you everything still falls into place.

So, so easily.

And the irony is, I can’t make you into the person I want you to be.

I know this now,

I’ve told myself over and over and it’s

better this way, I can only assume.

And I don’t really want you this way,

that is pretty much true.

I can’t make you make me

mixed CDs

and listen to music from the 80s and prior,

sing along with me to Motown.

I can’t make you dance with me,

admire me.

I can’t make you memorize me.

The way I’ve memorized you.

I can’t make you fall,

the way I did.

So, so hard.

But I can

make you smile still.

I can make you roll your eyes and laugh.

Sometimes hysterically.

I can make you want to fall asleep,

by trailing my fingers over your hand,

and you don’t tell me to shut up when I sing in your car.


maybe it should not bother me when you don’t know it’s

Journey playing on the radio.

Maybe I should not find delight in the fact that I impress you

when I know what you’ve switched the radio to.

Yet you switch it to an R&B station and expect me not to dance with my hands.

I shouldn’t care that this annoys you.

But I don’t want to annoy you.

I’m scared you’ll tire of me again.

Though you say I don’t bore you.

I was just…”incomparable”;

too costly because you wouldn’t let me pay for a single meal.

I should apologize for wanting you in my life again.


at that.

That I want my best friend back.

I could lie and easily tell them I’m over you.

We both know that’s not true.

And yet,

there are things that I would one day want from you,

that you have given away

or cannot find means to compensate.

Because you turned the radio

when “Come Together” played,

and even though I am not a huge Beatles fan,

I have enough respect to let a classic play.

“I can turn you into poetry,

but I cannot make you love me.”

Trust me, when I say,

that whatever this is

is honestly okay.

And I’m not making up pretenses,

because being with you,

is good enough for me

for today.

Happy Thoughts: A Wednesday in September

So, on a Wednesday in September,

I remember asking you where you were and you told me you were headed to Rowan because your class didn’t start ‘til 12:15.

But you were stopping at Wawa and you asked if I wanted anything. I told you an iced tea and that was the end of it.

When I finished Public Speaking I checked my phone again and you asked if I wanted anything else. I thought about asking for a Take 5, but instead just replied “no.”

I went to the computer lab to work on an assignment until you arrived.

I remember what I was wearing. Power Rangers T-shirt, American Rag mini-skirt, lace stockings and combat boots. I remember it was a gorgeous day. I remember you texting me, asking where I was.

I remember walking to meet you, and you were in your new hoodie, the one you bought with my present to you for your birthday. Your present you almost purposely left my house without.

I remember you shaking your head at me when I got close and I asked why. You said you knew it was me because of the way I walked.

I’m still wondering what that meant.

But why I remember all this so clearly is because when we sat down at one of the picnic tables outside of The Student Center and you opened your Wawa bag you not only gave me my iced tea, you also told me you got me a pretzel, because you knew I probably hadn’t eaten breakfast.

I remember staring at you. Thanking you.

Because you did not know how many times I arrived in my senior homeroom with a Wawa iced tea and a pretzel. You did not know that I, in fact, didn’t eat breakfast. You barely knew anything about me except that you wanted to corrupt me.

But in that moment, you gained some tiny piece of me, and I will never ask for it back.

I think I may have fallen for you then. Out of all the other times, it had to be then.

I remember that we discussed our favorite quotes. I remembered I had gotten my hair cut the day before and that night you told me it looked nice.

I remember you being surprised that I had an iPad.

I remember the stupidest, littlest stuff.

But I remember being happy.

Because I had a friend like you in my life.

And no matter how much has changed,

no matter how much time has passed,

no matter the different year

that is a memory I will keep and always look back on with a smile.

Because you not only got me an iced tea,

but a pretzel.


I don’t hate you. That’d just be stupid.

I don’t hate that I loved you, and, to an extent, that bothers me because after all the bad, I should not be able to find the good, I should not remember the good.

And I know you’ve moved on and I know I want nothing to do with you…I know that, I can say that and be honest,


it’s not going to take away what I remember about you and that’s what breaks my heart a little bit over and over.

How we could both sit in the cafeteria and you’d play with my drink or my sunglasses, or sometimes we’d sit on the same side of the booth and I’d completely forget the rest of the world was around us, because in those moments I didn’t care if I gave public displays of affection.

How we’d sit in The Pit and I would always try to be closer to you than what was actually necessary. 

How we discussed the versions of “Do you Hear What I Hear?” this time just last year and you shared that you listened to Family Force 5 and that was something I never knew about you.

How we laughed in sync at the Tim Hawkins concert.

And I’ll never forget the way you smiled at me, whether you do or not. 

And I know

I know you’ve moved on and she makes you happy and that’s fine.

And I know you probably think I’m not over you,

you think I’m weak,

and predictable,

and you wonder why you wasted your time.

But honestly, I’m happy.

It’s just sometimes…

some nights

I think back and remember these things

and I try to figure out what went wrong and where

And I want to be vengeful

and I want to be vindictive,

but this is not one of those times.

This is just simply a time where things aren’t what I expected them to be,

and I don’t hate that,

and I’m not upset we broke up,

because it was going to happen;

we both knew that.


It’d just be simpler,

for me,

if no good came with the bad.