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Archive for October, 2011

there’s the heron song that he sung
and you knew you had heard it, too, when rachel told you
you can step back from the birdsong
and take inventory of your losses
without being sore and without being numb.
let your hand fall from his hair and know
your babies’ heads won’t be full of curls.
convince yourself by standing in front of the mirror before breakfast
and notice the dark circles disappearing from under your eyes

he is done taking your context and making it your pity,
turning over vats of your tears and compressing
them into his reassurance.
the tv is turned to the news now, and it has nothing to do
with his alcoholic mother or drug addict father
or abandoned brothers and sisters or his
abuses that make him and you what he cannot love.
his reach has been long, but you will put those things
aside for now until you need to write or tell
a story to make someone laugh,
then you put them aside again,
shuffle them into the grocery lists and job applications,
take your hands again from the pockets of the jacket you kept.
his scent has dissipated leaving only a whole you and your
detergent but no more memories of sweat and
climbing trees and playing in spring together.
a whole you is making your new context that doesn’t
ask for pity and makes new memories
of stroking hair and imagined
babies and forehead kisses in the morning.

the list called “what you give me” lingers
in the back of your head, when you wish to fall
back on them and just miss it all.
it fades and fades and gets packed up
in a box of old journals and notes about ethnic warfare
and doodles of your initials together and extra post-it notes.
he gave you “chocolate milk thrown into the snow to stay cold!”
or “circus tricks learned in France that impress my friends”
or “bedtime songs”
or the feeling of standing on a ledge, barely balanced,
waiting to be pushed over when you least expect it,
when you’re finally feeling secure.
you can step back now
for the ledge has widened for your path
and now holds confident strides away from here.

he still sings, you’re sure of it, and tickles
in the manner you’re familiar, near the ribs,
above the knees, a light brush of the back of your arm.
untangle yourself from those glasses askew and
word tricks, unfold the legs
that have fallen asleep under you while waiting for him
to come around.
those dramatics of voice and limb,
the fast walking, springing against all surfaces
has made you tired now, and it’s your turn to take a rest.
you will never be asked to perform
when you are sleepy anymore, and you are never
a disappointment if you indulge in their offers of repose.

you are no longer anyone’s pigeon, and that is fine
as long as you remember what you’re leaving
and count what you have gained since that choice.
you have gained flying south for winter
with brown eyes and straighter hair and tallest spine.
hugs happen six times a day for at least six seconds now.
a new scent goes with yours, his parts and their sums
add up to what you were missing before.
stand still now, don’t apologize for the remembered routines of
saying sorry for things you didn’t do wrong,
and there is breathing room, room that holds few doubts.
you can wake up and feel no remorse about your ambitions
because they no longer threaten, and you can sing without
hesitation of your plans and news and days

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Speaking of Z

Me: I like books you can write in.

Z: Me, too. And that’s all of them because they’re made of paper.

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