you me us

You drive me to the airport once again,

through the unkind dark before dawn we 

both know too well.

This time, there is no wolf in the mood

for a passing salute. Your worn blue 

running shoes hitch a ride, back seat.

In case you did not know: 

I am learning from you that love lives 

in the quiet between soccer podcasts 

and NPR broadcasts. 

I am learning that love lives

in the rumbling gaps between 

highway mile markers,

in the spaces where our rough fingers 

come together again and again

to make things right when words are

wrong, when no words will do.

Untitled by Roy Croft

I love you,
Not only for what you are
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you,
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you,
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

The kitchen sinks

In Massachusetts I stand at the kitchen sink
with no view. I nudge the faucet right to
get cold water, and I wonder what happened
to the yellow clock that once did me the favor
of standing in for the sun.

In Wisconsin I stand at a kitchen sink
with a view. I had forgotten what it was
like, to consider light this way, to
contemplate the odd twist of a tree,
the weather, what I might have said—
while my fingernails scrape congealed
oatmeal from the new bowls.

Here, I nudge the faucet left to
get cold water, and I wait. Here, 
the cold water is in no rush and
takes its good old time. I wait and
I remember when half of you
was gone from me, but this way:
head and torso communing with
the plumbing, unseen,
your thick bare feet and stained
trousers a better view than the one
just outside the window. If I knew
how I would nudge you to hot
and show you what I would like
to remember.

 

Start with what you know

Start with what you know. Your face. Your neck. Your shoulders, and all that rests below.

The freckles are getting bigger. You refuse to call them "spots." But you know this is age, reminding you that you are part of the human race. You are not exempt from the mottling, the grays, the aches, the droop, the sag, the parchment skin of your grandmothers. You loved their skin, can feel the thin, dry, papery touch of it under your plump child's hand. Skin was not then something to fear.

How to Meet Meryl Streep (2005)

There are many, many things you must not do right now. But here is what you must do: stay calm. Breathe as deeply as you can, which is not very deeply at all. Your ribs are crumpling from the pressure. In case you lost consciousness for a moment, you are standing two feet away from Meryl Streep, under the suspended halves of a very large boulder...

Sailing lesson

I. EMBARKING

We embark on our nautical adventure
knowing and not knowing a few things,
separately.

You're not so sure about your sailboat motor anymore.
Like you, it's over 40 and doesn't like to admit
that it's always sore in the mornings...

The door

The door would not close.
I had tried for years
to close it behind me.

So like me, to fill a room
too full, to keep too many
useless things, to fear
pardoning the ghosts...

this silence

This silence would be deafening
if you could hear it, still. 

It broke you years ago, when
you were seized with a fit
of wanting needing so violent
you dug your way out through
your own skin...

Safe enough

 

By 43, I think, in addition to knowing the right brassiere for any occasion, I should know how to say goodbye. I should be able to say goodbye with conviction, without looking back. At least, I feel like I should be able to do this. But I am always looking back, hoping for one last glimpse, one more wave. No wonder my neck and spine hurt all the time. I ache with goodbyes.