The way you smell brings me back
To the feel of your smile against my hair,
The sound of breath on my cheek.
The feel of your fingers against my back,
Like a bird, a fledgling,
Learning to flap its wings against the wind.
Your callow hand spreads to embrace mine,
So young and naïve, and full of intent.
I’ve never been held by anyone
The way you are holding me with your eyes.
But nocturnal desire fades with the light,
And with the dawn, I am a diurnal creature
Who needs much more than you.
Your emotions slide
From your fingertips to mine.
My love weighs more than yours,
Drags us out of the sky into a depth of oceans,
Where your eyes dry out with salts.
I tear out my heart in recompense,
Hold it above waves undulating in sunlight,
While you dive away, unaccepting.
The hooded perfume of a voice-over
just like how you talk me down
from the heights of hysteria
breath with mint melted on your tongue.
I know you don’t know me
like you used to know the taste
of something more than love,
when you took these thoughts of mine
I know you will never
smell the way you once did,
the way you once closed your eyes
and could only see my language.
Not the words how you follow them now,
wanting them to be other than the truth,
wanting them not to take me home.
When we speak,
I cannot talk you down
from my heights of hysteria,
I cannot drop you down
and take that taste of mint from your tongue
Your voice over mine
am not heard.
At 15, I wrote poems on trig homework
and declared 35 too old to have a child.
My best friend fell in love and it was requited.
I could not quell my envy and certainty
That every boy would eventually break my heart.
At 42, I write poetry on the back of meeting agendas,
and wonder if 43 is too old to have a second child.
I fell in love and it was requited.
But I cannot quell the envy and certainty
Of our 4-year-old only child who is sure he needs a sister.
I try to squelch the truth I’ve known all these years,
That this man I love will someday break my heart,
Or I will break his,
At the end of this life that will never be long enough.
I weigh this knowledge against the weight of an arm
Around me every night as I drift into sleep,
Anchoring me in place.