It despairs as
But it passes.
It despairs as
But it passes.
In early spring you clipped me,
You tore me by my roots,
then rent me until raw and vulnerable
I stooped before your
You said I was too beautiful,
A mere thing surrounded
by beautiful things.
Before you I grew.
Should you leave I would yet grow.
So you clipped me.
Beneath your oppressively absent eye
I would never grow again.
Never know home again.
Everywhere I was was damned,
You beheld a being so beautiful
You wanted to watch it die
And become a thing less beautiful.
You yourself could not create beauty—
A beautifully damned nothing, then.
In the frost
Away from you
Unnatural to me
I sought the light.
A tulip in snow is an unnatural thing.
But a tulip in the dark
I am not nothing.
Unnatural now, perhaps,
But I am.
I had thought to
kill him with kindness.
Perfectly pressed and poised,
I withstood him
as strong women ought.
Careful not to raise my voice I
fed him the spotlight and
all of the space in the world entire and
He devoured mine.
Kill him with kindness
As I choked on my own tongue.
I took the high road,
unpaved and wild
While he claimed the road most traveled,
And I, on my own wretched road,
remained locked and dying
in the deep and the dark.
Kill him with kindness
As I spit out my broken teeth
My face crushed into his refuse
My lungs claiming all that is left for me—
The teeming mess of him.
With my dying breaths I chance to
gaze upon him
To see at last what they see
To know about him what they know:
That he is worthy of unyielding devotion;
That I, kingmaker, and him, king
Have played our parts as commanded,
And at last we will see each other
Unburdened and unbruised and equal.
But he is already past me
Pulling taut the string tied
around the neck of the next.
Eyes gleaming and afraid
She moves forward
And is unmade.
I thought to kill him with kindness
But kindness killed me instead.
Pull the shadows down deep until they are behind us;
Now only we remain.
Naked as you found me, but unafraid.
I drink you in.
Before, wordless, I would have let you
Take all the best lines
And all of the good light would paint your soliloquy.
But I have learned to fill the silence with pretty tokens taken from your tongue.
A marionette, I spend my days pretending
My painted face and human likeness dampen and crumble away like rotted wood about me
Until all that remains are splinters from
The useless mask.
Here I have laced together my clumsily begotten words
And too close you see the rips in the seams
And the wear
But when you are there and I am
And nothing but time stands between us
Know that they mean I love you.
And I loved you.
And I will love you yet.
At your leisure I danced.
I grinned earth wide
And my tears filled the deep craters
Torn into my rough hewn body
Chipped again and again by your strings.
You locked me away
And dust settled around me
And within me
When you drew me out again
You would remake me
Something more to your liking.
Perhaps I could be human this time
And you would love me?
At your leisure I performed,
And when I failed to please you
You painted over my lips
And used my mouth to spew your own words,
And the strings you strung and pulled
A noose about my neck
Stopped me screaming.
When at last I cobbled together a voice
From scraps you dropped beneath the table,
You crushed me under your heel.
You cut my strings
And ripped me apart, limb from limb.
Until I love you the way you demand—
Without desire or expectation—
You will hold my strings a guillotine,
And every breath I take
Will be a breath you have allowed;
And every step I take
Will be on legs you created;
And when I move just right
The perfect marionette,
You will share a sliver of your light
And shine your love on me,
And you will love me
And I will be worthy of love.
i will die while you are gone.
time and again i have begged the black away,
knowing you were too near.
i could not bear you to see.
i knew you would call me back, and
because i love you
i would return from something beautiful
to this perpetual wait.
don’t fuss. there’s bread and meat for sandwiches.
and the laundry is pressed and folded.
i’ve chosen a dress for the burial, and a hat.
the girls will take care of the makeup.
skip the repast.
i made your bed and left mine undone.
i thought you might like to lie there, a bit, and imagine
me lying in the space across from you.
sometimes, deep in the dark, i reached for you
and i could almost feel you reaching back.
the way i felt your eyes caress me
when my back was turned,
the strength of your arms
the time you hugged me.
you will wonder what to do with your time
now that i cannot tell you how to fill it.
i thought about staying.
i knew you would be angry if i chose to leave.
were my bones young and my mind lithe
and the air crisp and full
i might stay awhile.
but it is winter.
i know you don’t like to think of it.
but it is winter now and sometimes
the sun fools us into thinking winter will pass
and leave us untouched.
it will not.
you will have me here, even if i am empty
so that you are not at last alone.
so i will die while you are away.
i will wait for you, just beyond the veil.
come when you are ready.
I know where you are.
Like a hangnail
Or enduring pain
Lodged deep beneath my skin
Or the space
I think I have rid myself
of the pain of you
Sloughed it off
like a winter coat
Or youthful innocence—
Which, ill-fitting, you took with you—
And then I think about
And unfeeling dates—
The pillars standing sentinel
Over the reality of you—
And the gash between the pillars,
The place where
the whole of you existed.
I am bound by the date
that means you ended
And I break open
And I gasp you out;
There was not enough life
In your lifetime.
Not enough happiness
In the midst of the despair.
And all that you were,
Twenty seven short
Tagged and bagged
And stuffed into plastic.
I invent a new life for you
Because all ownership of stories
And the life you lived
is gone from you now,
And you are relegated the spaces
And the downbeats
And they call you lost.
And I repeat it back to them,
But you are not lost.
You are here,
all the time
In the ebbing
and the flowing
And the bittersweet sting
of eternal grief.