I want to collapse on you like a raindrop on unstepped soil,
motes of dust (not sparkling) in hopeful rainbow light.
Lon(v)ely poets will call us their favourite smell,
and I’ll waft and seep through your grainy wholeness, enrich your colour and wrap myself tight around your earth, learn and remember the taste of your dryness and how you look in the dark.
Drifting vapour, I want to condense again, even though it hurts to fall.
Steady there, let me fight the wind for you, steady steady.
Wait for the rain.
It was a well-thought out setup, when I turned to see you sitting on the sofa, watching a documentary about a farrier. “Do you know you can’t really tell when they’re in pain? Horses, they don’t neigh or groan or fidget or, well, you know.”
I nodded, and set down the coffee. That evening, we spoke of Penguin book covers, the difference between shrews and mice, Alfred Noyes, and our favourite Sufi poets.
Quietly, we were mourning our equestrian paced countdown,
and we knew,
a little too long for you, gathered together on staircases in a tight fist.
I passed you by as you caught the train,
tucked yourself into your shoulders and tried not to brush against the crowd.
You sleep like a foetus, I can tell, but you wore primary colours and flowed through the clean crusty lines of the platform,
I lingered around to see if you’d look back to note who was following the traipsing tramped trails of your garb,
you know, whether it was all a well charted ploy.
I can diagram all the elements of your story;
your title, shadowed in a curvy font, the drop-cap first letter of your beginning, the flippant absence of any footers or chapter breaks.
You run barefoot, all the conflict in your subtext, tears smudged against the bulky glass panes of the window.
I have read between your lines.
That’s when I began thinking of losing you. This isn’t the first time I am writing of loss and best friends and bits of my heart and people going away. It’s just that, with you, the deep sad sorrow I chose to immerse myself in and all the parallel universes I conjure for these words, for my sanity, it came true. And we are sad about that, which is good, isn’t it, because deep sad sorrow is the appropriate emotion for situations like this?
My point though, in writing this to you, and these words come after I sat nibbling my fingers for a moment, is that loss isn’t romantic. As much as I vindictively wish that our painful parting of ways provided fiery fodder to the flaccid fuels (fools) of my imagination, there is no such thing happening – and we can see that here, can’t we? I can employ no wordplay and I shall join you in laughing at all the obvious attempts at making this seem literary.
I am always hiding, and my words are no miraculous insight into my truth. They are the closest I shall come to surface, and that’s the best I can do. You know that, don’t you? You loved my lies, and my fiction loved you back.
Loss hasn’t matured me. It has not suffered me, and it has left me precisely where it found me (that was a reference to a quote you loved from Chicken Soup for the Soul, it was the only book you ever read in the library). I don’t think either of us value or miss each other more than we ever did, so really, what is loss if it isn’t pillow tears, sad poetry and nearly dialing a number? My inventive what-ifs are so much more realistic than this pathetic reality.
Because this then, is what loss is. It is awkward words and a verbose mind running astray, too much thought and too much reflection. It’s waking up one day and realizing he doesn’t matter anymore (he is so ridiculous anyway), you could kiss him and hold him and marry him and have three children with him; we are all selfish people, and there is nothing we crave more than everything which makes us happy, and if we have to pick between two, you pick whichever one you can keep around more often, and his address was nearer. How can I blame you (except when I did)?
Loss is when you can thrive happily without everything which made your days and who you’ve had breakfast with for years. It’s when I realize it’s just one story less, and really, these things don’t matter that much. People come, people go. I shall too.
This is me, taking a deep breath, and breaking out to the surface. Just for a moment, just long enough to say you can love him and love me too.
My key-ring is a sterling silver bear, a tiny clock dial his stomach,
It’s an odd Weasley world of locks and tick tocks,
a fascinating timer to going away and coming back.
It’s an interesting fact, like the ones they compile in colourful middle school books,
comic sans in jagged edged yellow boxes,
exclamation mark ended did you know my favourite cup is mud red saying cats love milk,
or how fluorescent shades make me twisty mountain drive queasy.
You’ve left this thick paperback book, earmarked and cunningly dog-eared on its spine,
I can glance around this room and win the invisible treasure hunt of all your bullet lists;
the pillow covers will always be a shade of blue,
the secret safe for cheque books and passports is the worn squash racquet case on the doornail.
Let’s play this serendipity game of truth and dare,
tell me my favourite font, or whether I like chandeliers.
There are mounds of glittering pirate loot in your mind,
if you could tell me now, please,
bears and pillow covers are decisive,
and I need to know if this is a lie.
It’s been seven years of resentful Mondays.
You’re standing on the pavement, squinting at apartment numbers,
how easily my eyes superimpose upon you your youth,
cleverly blurring, sharpening, the black formals turning into faded sneakers,
In a whirl, the face turns, the same persistent cowlick and embarassing feminine eyelashes,
the city snaps playfully, a lazy canine, these streets are an adventure again.
I would tell you that we’ll row to the little island off the shore,
and insist we take sandwiches,
wishing they were mushroom with garlic and melted cheese.
If I had a boat,
and we were in it together,
I would madly invent an excuse for it to capsize,
to drench ourselves in the salt and cold of the water,
and to struggle and laugh in the endless depths below us, clutching and groping our way onto the wood again.
With wrangled clothes and weed in our hair, no ice would be left for breaking, and I would triumph over the sunset classic of how well we row this boat together let’s do this forever, and make my own boat romance,
two people and delicious sandwiches fell into the water,
and how nice it would be to do that more often.
You are in my way, and I cannot reach you.
I cannot love you back,
if you drown me in all of yours -
But I have loved you so much,
That I have drowned in mine.
the brown moth camouflaging lazily in the sun,
I’m looking out of the window,
all that I look for is behind.
the missing organs and the halves,
of lungs, of breathing,
of strides, wayward stumbling through my half-sighed vision of the li(f)es.
You are a strange spelling I will never forget, like how the lines of Daffodils are instinct to my tongue.
Trials of you are long gone,
but when they come again,
I want you to be the hardest part,
and watch you smile knowingly, that’s always been smooth sailing.