Coping Still

And if I had stayed,
I'm not entirely sure where I'd be coming
home to.
If your lap would become rest stop
for my head,
would your fingers travel through my hair
a map made by tangles, the way they did
the first night I kissed you?

Were we really like that once?

And if I had stayed,
would that home be welcoming?
Would I not miss you the way I do now,
except be physically closer?
Would you leave the sound of lasers and
boss levels to stay with me until I slept?

But I didn't stay.
And lately I miss you more than less.
But I don't regret leaving,
because in the process,
I reclaimed myself.

So I'll stay lonely.
And the questions can remain unanswered.
It hurts, but it's truly for the best.

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Animal Instinct

Every boy who has
kissed me first
has also left me.
And maybe that says something about
me,
how my mouth is bear trap,
whereas ankles are normally trapped
my lips work as snare,
confine others’ because
it’s the only way I know how to beg,
it’s the only way I can convey “stay”.

So,
I want but
never ask first.
One never does when the question leads
to abandonment;
why even bother the claws to break skin?

When you don’t have a chance of holding
what’s meant to leave you.
When mouths meeting are a different kind of speaking,
a “goodbye” tasted, instead of said.

Star-Gazing

Tell me what the hood of your truck feels like.
I think i want to melt into warm metal.
I think I want to look at the stars so much
that my love for constellations
causes them to tremble.
I think I want the sky to fall on me.

Tell me that that is a kind of love.

See us sitting in a field,
flannel blanket amidst wild flowers.
You murmur about life’s imperfections and I laugh a garden.
We entwine under an indigo sky
and there are vines connecting with pinpoints of life.
I think I want to root into earth.
I think I want the soil to take our fingerprints
twist our DNA
until we are nothing more than dandelion fluff
and children are wishing on the fantasy of us.

Tell me that that is a sign of blooming.

Tell me we can be something
under a dark sky
amidst swaying stems.
Tell me that summer is more than just “I think”
and “are wishing”.
Show me more than
“kinds” and “signs.”

Promise me
that we, too, can be wonderful.

California Dreaming (Writing About You Again)

We’re on a hillside,
overlooking the Pacific,
and it’s 80 degrees;
call it California Dreaming

Chilled champagne,
a fruit platter,
me in a silk robe
and you with a notebook in hand.

And I can see it,
your eyes covered by shades,
but there’s a twitch in your cheek
and your hand is steady with each stroke of the pen,
and I swore I’d never fall for a writer,
but, man.

In the twilight,
I look below and see Byron and Mary
strolling on the beach.
I hear Charlotte, Emily, and Anne
swoon in time with the waves that are breaking—

when I look back at you, head bent over a notebook,
pen still in hand, I stretch out my arms,
wrap them around your neck,
feeling you relax into it…

and you know
that I only write poems about dreams,
because no where in Jersey could we
maintain a patio set
without snow, or wind,
or the chance of getting it wet.

It’s a Given

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

Which Hurts Worse

I’m crying
so that only leads
to writing poetry.

That what you want
isn’t necessarily easy.
That having someone
fall out of love with you,
even if you want them to,
is still heartbreaking.

That you know it’s the right thing
and yet,
tears still stream.

So,
you’re hurting again.

Everything,
this year, seems to end
all at once.

And you’re still too scared to run.

To chase after anything
worth having
to make you feel loved,
because you lost
another one.

And, even you’re surprised
that a piece of your heart went
with them.

So you cry
and write the poem.
You don’t say you love
them
’cause it’s not the kind of
love they want.

This time,
if they choose to go,
you’ll let them.

Your Eyes on Little Me

I’m excited
for when you become a dad.

This isn’t the normal break-up poem,
about how I would’ve been the perfect mom,
how our children
would be a reason for staying together all this time,
or a way to make-up for “never getting over”
you,

because I have.

But “Next to You” is playing
and I’m feeling nostalgic.

So let me say that I’m excited
you’d be the father
that lets his child believe
they can fly.
You’ll be the daddy
his little girl comes running to,
the one she’ll want the love of her life to be modeled after.

Promise me
you’ll never lose that light in your eyes
and the laugh
that shakes a whole room.
Promise me
you’ll tell them
all the good and bad things
and you’ll recall with clarity
the moments that made you,
you,
for them,
to them.

It’ll take time,
but when I see a dad charging toward his kid
like a plane,
I’ll see you.
And when I see a child
laughing,
it’ll sound like you.

We grew apart,
but promise me,
you’ll never grow up.