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you have been living here for quite some time though i just met you. my kitchen was somehow cleaner after breakfast than it has been for the past 7 months. me sitting on the couch with my legs in your lap or you in bed with your head under my chin has been happening since september 23rd, but i just didn’t know it was you. the countdown of (1) falling apart and (2) unpacking boxes and (3) losing my job and (4) bending over the sink with sobs and (5) reassembly has all been in service of this: the familiar car drumming, a thigh grab, 1-3 sips of your coffee, positive reinforcement for saying the weirdest things i can think of, enneagram 1 meeting enneagram 5, a taurus and a virgo contact-improvising all throughout the city.

i started drinking more water
we shared the really good wine with the cool knife on the label
you had a talk with me for keeping expired milk in my fridge
i fell asleep with my face on your back and then drooled on you while we watched the olympics

some things are hard, like grieving and growing, and some things, like buying a bus ticket to new york and finding your eyes from across the room, are the easiest i’ve ever done.

(February 2018)

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If I don’t answer the phone,
I’m not ignoring you.
I’m probably doing laundry, folding warm
pants, stretching sheets across
the mattress in time for the next person to sleep in them.
If I don’t answer the phone I’m probably
packing a bag for a weekend in the country
to drink wine, smelling the earth
and the sun, tasting the fruit and the
years and the rain.
If I don’t answer the phone, I might be
practicing my crocheting. I can make
blankets, and I’ll be moving on to
socks and sweaters any day now.
But if not that, then I’m probably dancing,
it’s always a good bet.
Swing with a live band, getting twirled,
lifted, thrown.
If you call and I don’t answer the phone, it
could be any of those, and I’m not
ignoring you, but I’ve just got all this
life to live.

(January 2018)

6 months ago

you left me
with all the grown-up logistics
the fish who ended up dying
the kitchenware you didn’t want
the shame of sharing the news
the weight and lightness of not knowing what to do next

the kitchenware is serving me well, big bowls of veggies and plates of braised beef and glasses of limoncello cocktails.

the unknown has been serving me well, big options and help when i ask for it and reconfiguration of my dreams.

the shame is gone.
and honestly, i wasn’t ready to be a mother,
definitely not to a 30-year-old man.

(January 2018)

Dominica

There is something in the air,
pressurized so we can breathe it,
that puts a knot in my chest every time I inhale
39,000 feet above the sea

There is something about the propeller vibrations
that mimic the muscles in
my legs and back

I am flying home.
I should be flying home to you –

I brought you a volcanic rock from a beach where
the road ends and some handmade soap
and a peppermint chocolate bar –

I’ll probably eat the chocolate
when I’m sad and put the soap
in the bathroom to use up as fast
as I can and set the rock on the windowsill
next to the crazy basil plant

There’s something about
the emergency exit row
that reminds me of the last time we flew
when I slept with my head on your soft shoulder

I started lifting heavy weights; I began a real skincare routine; I planted a garden; I learned how to make candles and sourdough bread; I spoke real lines in a play; I bounced on an Olympic-style trampoline; I roasted my first artichokes and braised my first short ribs and baked my first sweet potato brownies; I gave the best man speech in my brother’s wedding; I traveled to St. Louis and Michigan and Maine and New Orleans and Philadelphia and the Outer Banks and Spain and Morocco; I took off my clothes in front of strangers at Spa World; I hiked all over Maryland and Virginia; I started being deliberate about saving money; And, if everything goes well, I might have a big, exciting announcement to share in the next few weeks.

Overall, not bad for my 30th year of life.

on losing 19 pounds

checking myself out in the mirror
every morning when i wake up
doesn’t suddenly make my boyfriend
want to marry me

the green pants that haven’t fit
in over a year
now hang on my hips
but that doesn’t make my job
any less soul-crushing

i want to shout
“be kind to your curves!”
but then i get online
and see that yogi twisted up
and balancing on her elbows

dutifully planning diet-compliant meals
on sunday afternoons
only makes me pinch and prod and pose
a few hundred more times than usual

There was only one toilet, and there were two of us. We tried to dance around it, and we tried to be strong. In the end, we had no chance: someone was going to have to shit in the tub.

I cried after my 6th bout of diarrhea, and he kept making jokes after he puked out everything in his stomach. Really good jokes with impeccable timing.

He sleeps on the twin bed pushed next to mine now, not even snoring a little. I eat a packaged croissant quietly and slowly. I have never loved him more.