wish

 

the night music plays

as blades come and go.

 

far from the shore, the crowd,

one pair pirouettes—

 

drills down.

 

at the coldest point of the year,

when the thick ice has lain down

 

its frozen arms for miles,

far beneath the creaking layers,

 

my heart leaps at your joy.

 

i am also alone, but buried by winter.

i am a knot in the dark:

 

deeper than a river,

and stiller.

 

i see silhouettes of you—up through the thinnest spots:

the world’s floor; my ceiling.

 

my tiny windows of light

are your risk.

 

i listen for the crack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Empty Nest

It is so quiet. I look around at all the things in the exact same place I left them last night. Nothing is missing from my medicine cabinet, from my bedside table, from my closet. There are no shoes, clothes, or dishes strewn around the room.

Sometimes I forget and think she’s just sleeping in the next room. Sleeping well into the afternoon, like she used to, until I would go stir her awake with a squish or the cat or toasting waffles.

Sometimes it feels like she’s gone for good. Like she has died. And I have to squeeze my arms around my body and tell myself: No, god forbid. She is just gone into her own cave for a time.

I’ve heard the term empty nest for years, and it never really meant much to me. I always thought, if I ever get to the point when she’s ready to leave home, I will be happy in the thought that I did my job, and that she has launched successfully—whatever that means. Hopefully it will mean that she has finally finished school, and we will celebrate!

What I didn’t realize is that after the graduation and celebration and milestone after exciting milestone, it would creep up on me slowly and silently: while folding laundry and realizing it is only my clothes; while washing the dishes only I used; while wandering alone around Marshall’s and wondering why it’s no longer fun to poke through the endless knickknacks; while trying to sleep but waking continually with a void deep inside my body as if I’m missing her presence in my womb.

The feeling is indescribable. It’s the first time you realize deep in your gut how attached you have been to your child; how much of your life has been devoted to bringing her into the world and introducing each to the other; how unsure you are of who you are without her there, inside the nest, pressing up against and under your body.

From the outside, this may seem to some like a desperate dependence or unhealthy reliance. But the feelings I am having—as I sit here looking out the window from this new home I recently acquired to share with my daughter—are feelings of pure love; deep knowledge that I have grown so close to another being that I can feel the body of her absence beside me, against me, within me. And it is a feeling of profound gratitude. Because I know real love is laced with melancholy—with the awareness, but also the transcendence, of the fleeting of time. And because I know she feels the same; I know she carries my presence in and beside and around her every day. We are forever connected. And nothing can ever change that; no one can ever take that away.

 

 

 

fill

life is lonely:

fill it up.

 

laugh when you can.

be open to things that scare you.

 

sing at least once a day.

try to touch at least one being, and be touched.

 

life is lonely.

it’s ok;

we all know it.

lean into it.

 

there are times when you need

that space,

that quiet,

that gut-wrenching truth.

 

out of that wilderness

can come meaning, purpose,

focus, action.

 

get your fill.

 

 

 

real heroes

a guy named barry at cvs keeps

calling me love, looks at my id and says,

 

don’t worry; you still look good.

i know he’s messing with me, but i

 

just want to get my wine and toilet

paper and go home. it’s the same

 

guy that tried messing with my girl

last week. i feel like i should make a

 

scene, but i don’t. i think the words

me too as i angrily shift away.

 

religion claims to save you from

the abyss, but religion is the abyss.

 

thank the gods for the creatives;

oh how we need the creatives.

 

we came out of the beautiful black

water—wet and fresh and squeaking:

 

a bull’s eye in the midst of the

mess. babies don’t have to care.

 

years later, i’m wearing my suit of

wet clay; i’m swinging my rudder

 

to wide extremes across a wide sea.

at the end of the journey, it’s just me.

 

i can feel the light shedding;

i can feel the need to flee.

 

real heroes don’t

feel like heroes

 

 

worse for the wear

this is the poem i don’t want to write.

this is the poem that is not beautiful.

 

or maybe it is,

because it is true.

 

the truth is,

i wish she were worse for you.

 

the truth is,

i wish she would just disappear.

 

i wish she were not so much like me.

it would be easier to hate her.

 

for both

of us.

 

the truth is,

she is good for you.

 

the truth is,

she is better for you

 

than i

would be.

 

i try to woo you with

my words, mystery,

 

well-timed

misery;

 

but the truth is,

i’ve never had a healthy

 

relationship.

it feeds the

 

poetry, but not

the living.

 

the truth is,

if she disappeared

 

tomorrow, i would not

know what to do.

 

i would probably

cry for you.

 

and then

for me.

 

i am the one who

should disappear.

 

i am the one who

is worse for the wear.

 

 

 

 

 

i.

i wake in the night to a

different realm; pulled from

 

my fuzzy yellow refuge. the

voices i meet are darker, thicker,

 

carrying something un-

speakably heavy across the

 

dimensions. every one i have

ever known—even my own

 

sisters, mother, father: sleeping

just feet from me—feel thousands

 

of memories away. i alone am

standing watch; am a crumbling wall

 

between what i thought i knew and the

all—knowing—all—encompassing

 

void

 

i don’t know why they are

visiting upon me; but one thing

 

i do know as i crouch in the deep-

dark pockets of the hallway, shaking

 

and weeping and lost:      i am

different.

i used to be

to take the edge off,

at least during the day,

at least during waking, non-

 

working hours; to go about

your routines, together but

alone, talking past each other:

 

slipping out to the ledge just to

see where it could all end; looking

back at where you’ve been because

 

you can’t imagine what hasn’t

happened yet. eye contact is a

commodity;      to hold it      is a luxury.