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.

Afterglow

I want a love
that feels like being sated;
where I am warm and sleepy happy,
but don’t need the sweet ache.

I curl myself into a comma
at night and pretend the covers
that cocoon me are instead
somebody holding me tight.

Tonight
my neck aches
and I miss the way fingers
used to massage me
in places I never knew were sore,
in places I’d never been
worshipped before

So give me a new one:
I want a love
that feels like the afterglow,
minus the hands.
A love I can sink into
soft and sure,

a love where physical
isn’t a necessity,
but a neck rub
will give me just as much
pleasure.

Every crack lets the Light in 

To write again
with less names on your lips,
less fingers entwined with yours,
less reassurances,

More breaking apart,
distancing,
ghosting,
missing—

To begin again
with so many chances,
so many meetings,
so many adventures

just waiting…

oh,
what a beautiful sadness,
what a joy to be alone
and know the coming of bliss.

Future Realities

“Lovely”
like a stain on your lips
that doesn’t come from kisses.
Like the first ray of sunshine
that signals spring.
Like believing this life is not the end,
like hoping for bliss.
Like kindness.

“Lovely”
like a sugar rush.
Like constant laughter
running like light
through an open floor plan.
Like children falling to the floor,
rolling on their backs and giggling.
Like sanded furniture.
Like wild flowers,
fresh flowers
springing from every crevice.

“Lovely”
like silence,
like an honest promise,
one that’s kept.
Like moments where it is you
and God
and the birds singing on the window
ledge,
and maybe you’re in that townhouse
or that cottage
but you’re smiling easier
and in awe of the littlest of things
like the way ice cube press together,
share space with tea
with citrus
with everything that represents simplicity.

“Lovely”
like possibility.
Like this life you’re living,
like what the future could hold.

“Lovely”
like waking up
and realizing
this world
is your dream.

15

I should’ve seen it coming:

10th grade and I was falling for you
like every other girl in our grade had.
We had joked about dancing together
and I had glared at you every time a slow song came on.

When you had worked up the courage to ask me,
“Apologize” was playing
and Scott was holding a conversation with you,
while I laughed at your nervousness.

And if we had known Journey
would’ve ended the night,
maybe things would’ve worked out differently.
It wasn’t your typical slow song.

Strangers waiting,
up and down the boulevard.

Tempo picked up and we changed
positions to a waltz.

Streetlight people,
living just to find emotion.

I remember you telling me to sing,
I remember laughing.
I was young
and very naive.

And now it is seven years
later
and you’re getting married
and I’m happy
for you.

Because for that girl,
the world is a little less lonely,
and you’ve found emotion.