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on a monday morning
when the big boss brings in coffee cake and mimosas
to calm the rising angst in the office
as the annual conference countdown begins,
and when your supervisor adds 11 things
to your list
and most of those things
are drafting email reminders
(you definitely went to college
to do fulfilling work like this),
and when your shin splints
keep you from the only thing
that was making you sane, temporarily,
and when you’ll be working for 11 days
without one day off and only
6.5 hours of overtime somehow,
and when your stomach constantly
hurts because you drink too much
terrible coffee and you worry all the time,
and when your boyfriend tells you
you’re beautiful but you can’t┬ábelieve
him because you actually do
look like shit,
and when you scratch and kick
and thrash and moan in your sleep,
and when you’re fucking up
just as much as everyone else

you do have that mimosa
and you do have all the online job search engines
and you do have a mom who will listen to all your complaining and crying on the phone
and you do have a boyfriend who thinks you’re beautiful even after you’ve been sweating
and you do have a comfy bed to dive into when the day is done
and you do have a pen and a notebook
and you do have peach pie ingredients at home
and you do have a ukulele that takes just a few seconds to tune
and you do have the extra oomph to try again and then again

image1

When I’m on the metro in the morning and the evening
When the red line is delayed for the 8th time in two weeks
When I have another hour and a half to go
Your words accompany me, and I sit and wait with ease

If Portland
Or Cupertino
Or Austin
Or Atlanta
Or Chicago
Or New York
Gets you
They will be
The luckiest

They will get
(And I will miss)
Your giggling
And morning stories
And accents
And exuberance
And gregariousness
And filmmaking rage
And political frustration
And writing passion
And musical talent
And gentleness
And kindness
And over-eager cheering-up attempts
And care
And embraces
And plan-making
And blue eyes
And playfulness
And truth-telling
And dog noises
And text message codes
And optimism
And nuzzling
And sweet attention to detail

If Portland
Or Cupertino
Or Austin
Or Atlanta
Or Chicago
Or New York
Gets you
I will be grateful
You loved me
And I will go back
To God
(For entirely
Selfish reasons)
To beg to
Get you again

I hid my puffy eyes behind my hair.
You didn’t know I had been crying.
I wouldnt let you in.
You covered me with a blanket and let me sleep.
I threatened to walk away.
You hugged me until I was quiet.
I fell into dark hopelessness.
You gave me room to breathe.
I felt like a young girl.
You weren’t afraid to love me.

I carry a dead beagle and half a dozen homes spread across the country,
a time at Christmas on the farm when I looked through my grandma’s medicine cabinet after everyone was asleep,
lonely winters of too much wine and too much poetry,
bouts of destructive decision-making and lashing out at loved ones,
the most critical eye fixed right on myself,
constant daily fear of being left again,
constant daily fear of not making the most of it,
jealousy built into me that nothing can banish,
so many nights of screaming matches and tears and slamming the door to walk to my car in the cold,
shameful attention seeking,
unrealistic expectations,
falso bravado,
withheld affection,
thanklessness.

I was sitting at my desk
editing a boring report, much like
I am doing now, when I
realized I couldn’t be
the woman to love you.

I would disrupt your
ordered plans for family and
Christian holiday celebrations.
You would make me
wish I could run away.

I still wonder
sometimes
what my life would be
like if I let you keep
me, tiptoeing around you,
dreaming of oceans.

It just takes a few of your words on a screen
and a few minutes in a flowery room
and a few vivid imaginations
to bring me to you.

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