My forgiveness was a gift
to you, don’t forget. You
unwrapped a lot of things
that weren’t yours, though
this one you didn’t steal.
Some days I would like it
back but I can’t think of
anything less returnable.
“The noon bells here just played Für Elise,” you say to me, and I think, “do you know what else you said to me? Do you remember holding trust in the palm of your hand and squeezing it until its juices ran down your wrist and forearm?” But I don’t say it. I don’t want to be the person who presses the plucked flower of who you were in a book and gets angry when you haven’t grown. You didn’t have to tell me about the noon bells, but you did.
Because you are good.
Because you’ve walked the marshland and didn’t care that it ruined your shoes.
Because you handed me the cloth to wash off the mire but you didn’t do it for me.
Because the valley of our home flooded twice and we never craned our necks above water. No. We dropped solid and heavy beneath the surface til it seeped into the earth, and now we own a garden.
Because you pick me lavender and crocus.
Our legs were wrapped like ivy
when you reminded me of the
evening last year that was so quiet
we could actually hear the snow
falling. It made me want to cry, that
sound. Impossibly soft, all of us:
You, me, the evening, the snow.
I drove home through white
with apathy in my backseat.
“You are not my passenger.
I care. I care. I care. I care.”
I said it until it heard. I said
it until I heard. We both heard
so tonight I sleep alone. This
body is so good– embryonic
and tidal. My chest swells and
decays with every breath. That
means my heart is the moon.
Don’t take me to the lake
if you’re going to drop my
heart again. On second
thought, don’t take me
there at all. I’m too afraid
of your hands and the way
they hold things this month.
Take me somewhere that
hasn’t slow danced with
who we’ve already been.
Growing isn’t graceful. Love,
I’ve dropped your heart, too.
Growing is grateful and our
slippery fingers are not
irrevocably clumsy. There’s a
seat right next to me under the
sun that I’ll save for you. You
mended my hands with cotton,
now I mend yours with wool.
Some thoughts on the eastbound train:
I. I fall in love with you differently each day. Yesterday it was the way you walk with your hands in your front pockets, your gait speaking easy confidence. Today it is the way you suddenly stop talking to me sometimes and I can see in your eyes that you’re thinking about numbers. Tomorrow it will be that laugh you laugh, the one I’ve only ever heard when you’re with me. It’s genuine, untouched, and innocent. I like it so much.
II. Yes, here I am rambling again, two pigeon-toed feet on the train floor again, waxing romantic again, fussing over how I love again. But no, I am not afraid anymore. I am terrified and brave. The truth does not sleep on my tongue anymore. She’s out there living and breathing amongst the other words bold enough to be honest. I couldn’t take her back even if I tried. I like it so much.