Tuesday, May 24, 2016

You Know

It’s something when you read his words and know in your core that you have to meet him now.  You feel like there’s a force compelling you that you can’t understand. 
It’s urgent.
You masturbate three times the first day you do meet.
When you shake his hand, you feel alive like
            lightning leapt from his fingertips into your palm.
On your first date, he holds your hand across the table before you ever kiss.
Every time you go to send him a flirty text, you see he’s already sent you one –

            It’s waiting there to reach in and hold you.

He tells you things you’ve been longing to hear for years and
You feel loved.
Really, truly loved in a way you have been aching for but ashamed to tell anyone you wanted.
You feel seen. 
After years of feeling inadequate, invisible –
You feel seen.

You feel like your body is burning when he so much as crosses your mind.
You feel carried by the wind and immersed in light.
You feel weightless, in orbit, going far too fast for gravity to catch you. 

You laugh together like children with a shared secret language
You love each other with abandon
You explore each other’s bodies with a sacred fever and
You hold each other so hard you start to melt.

When it’s something, you know and
You want to shout it like gospel.

You know

It’s over when months have gone by and he hasn’t said I love you.
You send racy photos, and he never acknowledges them.
The only question he asks is a cursory and disinterested, “So, how was your weekend?”
You send him a birthday present
A housewarming gift
A Christmas present
All of which are used but unappreciated by word or deed.
He starts using euphemisms when talking about going on dates: “I have a meeting.”

The only time he misses you is when he needs your unfaltering emotional support.
When a shoulder isn’t enough big enough.
Then he calls you crying and drunk twelve times in a row while you’re working, saying,
“I wish you were here.”
Only then.

You make him a video on the one-year anniversary of the day you met – the day you felt alive and couldn’t stop touching yourself thinking of the possibilities between you – sending it to him with flutters of excitement and joy, and
he
says
nothing.

So you feel like nothing.

The days go by and you start losing your colors, like a rare and brilliant maple leaf withering from a branch.

When it’s over, you know. 
It’s just that sometimes don’t want to say it aloud,
            or even whisper it,
Even when you know it will release you.
Even when you know that leaves grow back.

11 comments:

  1. This feels... Like smoke-tinged air that blurs the eyes after a raging fire.

    I have been here, in this place, have stood with scorched lungs amid the cinders of burnt-ash Then, bereft in the Now.

    You describe it beautifully, for all its terribleness.

    Poignant perfection. <3

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    1. Thank you - what a beautiful compliment and perfect way to describe how I feel right now.

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  2. Oh, Jo. I wish this were fiction, but it is to real, too heartfelt, to be not.

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    1. Yeah - I wish it were fiction, too. At least the second half.

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  3. Oh...you touched a nerve, a very delicate, fragile nerve. It has a pulse and a life. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. That means so much coming from you, Malin. As someone who talks unabashedly about sex all the time but almost never talks about my feelings, I was nervous about publishing this - there's something about poetry that feels more vulnerable to share than prose... so thank you for your kind words.

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  4. Gah, this is so sad and it really touched me

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    1. Thank you - I know you've been going through a rough time, too. Things have been much better and brighter since I published this, as I hope happens with you!

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  5. A whole story is told in this poem, excitement to sadness. And after seeing your comment about wishing the second half were fiction, there's even more sadness. I think you're courageous for posting this poem.

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