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,

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
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.

Back at it

There have been midnights sobbing hunched over the bathroom sink,

afternoons of holding back tears at the office,

evenings in bed shaking while surrounded by old photos,
moments in rehearsal that give pause  (Hamlet: “I did love you once…I lov’d you not.”),
times when self-sabotage reigned supreme.
There has been a heart 
that has been broken too many times
and continues to love and love and love.


If I am a deer, like you say I am,
I am the kind accustomed
to being fed by humans.
They find me amusing
before they ruin my bed and leave.
When tourist season is over,
I pick at my own skin in their place
and wait for the cycle to repeat itself.

If you are a lion like you say you are,
you are the kind accustomed to lazing in the shade, unaware of the way you frighten others.
I have never been close
to your kind before.
It is easy to bound through my forests
even in the dark, but the savanna is another story.
There I don’t know where to place my feet.

How would a lion and a deer meet anyway?
We teeter together near the line
of too much and not enough.
Loss holds me
back behind the white pines and hemlocks.
Something I can’t name
keeps you under the acacia trees.


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