Eighteenth

He asked me to join himfor a glass of wineon his back porchto celebrate his eighteenthand last wedding anniversarybefore the divorcewas finalized and signed.Wanted to be alone, he said.Didn’t want to be alone, he said—which was the kind of complexity I understood.And while our kids playedin the moonlit yardwe took turns weepingfor the love weContinue reading “Eighteenth”

How Can I Tell Him

The house is empty—it’s just me sitting on the deckin Julywatching the bird seed disappearfrom the feeders.I am remembering a long-ago Decemberwhen we wore hats to keep warmwhile he measured the boardsand I would put them in place—How can I tell himI hate to go inside this house?How can I tell him how cruel itContinue reading “How Can I Tell Him”

When I Want To

“I” am the familiarthe knownthe understood.Only my feelings and fearsare the ones I wholly understand.My own grief weighs morethan my empathy for himwho broke everything inside me—but when I want toI can invite truth to sit next to meand I can listen and nodwhen she reminds mehis love was never anything but pureand when heContinue reading “When I Want To”

Layers

I’ll remove you in layers—the photosthe messages we sentthe items we exchangedthe mounds of evidence that proveslovewas the wrong nameto give the whirlwind of our exchange.First to gowill be the photos—the digital historyof our happiness.I dropped my fingeron the trash can symbolwhich brought up a question—“Are you sure you want to delete this photo?”and IContinue reading “Layers”

Retrospective

How wrong I wasfor so longto make you the center of my life—to believe that one dayyou would close the distancethat contained the reasonfor your absence.And while I was waitingyou scattered bits of your lovelike milkweed—and roots grew elsewhere.Now I wishI hadn’t been so faithfulwhen someone who knew I loved youwanted to take me intoContinue reading “Retrospective”

The Way it Feels

It is a building upa stacking of bricksan accumulation of fogof throbof pain that can’t be locatedanywhere on your fleshit’s the pressure on the heartthe throat dry and swollenwith ache and confusion and guiltit’s the vision clouded with tearsthat fall onto the noteyour hand is too weak to writeafter sleep has been stolenby the mindContinue reading “The Way it Feels”

April Fool’s Day, 1964

On this date, I am not yet I.The love that will create meis only a crush.The air has no desirefor my lungs to inhale its coolness.The World Trade Centerhas not yet become an idea.Nat King Cole is still alive—already Unforgettable.The couple in the hospitalwill never know my namebut their one-day-old baby boy  will be affectedbyContinue reading “April Fool’s Day, 1964”

The Loosening

Only now do I knowwhat a luxury it was to touch him—before isolation became necessary.Before the mandatory loneliness.For months, the feeling of solitudehas been growing into need—need as ugly as a bruiseon an armmade by a hand that wouldn’t let go.But finally I have known a string of dayswithout pain—Even though his love for meContinue reading “The Loosening”