Snowy Morning/For Emily

The snow falling this morning reminds me of you
Tree limbs so crisp and the world is new

I sit at my window, watching the street
To reminisce and envision the next time we meet

My heart knows I likely won’t see you again
So my imagination must fill that void in

Are you building a snowman, or tunneling deep
To a whole different world where wild wolves sleep?

Are you sipping hot cocoa and playing a game
Of witches and fairies and dragons to tame?

Are you running through snowdrifts, wild and free
Knowing all of the good things you’ll be?

I sit at my window, not crying, not really
Recalling the serious times and the silly

Thinking back to our jokes, our games, and our smiles
The frustration and anger every once in a while

When you love someone, see, each memory sticks
So you carry them always in your bag of tricks

And when I start to miss you, I’ll think of those days
We acted like sloths creeping down the hallways

The students and teachers all looked so confused
When we said, “We’re just slothing around, how ‘bout you?”

I wish you goodbye as snow creates a fresh place
And hope wherever you are, you’re smiling and safe

Someone Else

IMAG0389

The marks someone else left
on your skin beg me
to recall how,
in the rain, we embraced so strongly
that morning we first met
and of later
the courage it took
to push the first “I love you”
off my dry tongue

The marks on your skin were
not left by me, nothing to do with me
yet they are everything and
I can’t tear my eyes
from the reddish bruises
an outline of her lips
a reminder of not-me

I leave with an offended ego
wrapped in my hands like something shameful
and the thumbprint of fear
embossed on my heart

Ache

I don’t feel like there is something beautiful
inside me trying to get out.
It’s not as if there’s a monarch
lodged in my throat, or a line of rubies set
beneath my breastbone.

It’s more like I have an ache, deep,
near my spinal cord, or maybe my kidneys,
and I have to stretch and twist and rub at it
like an old man does his arthritic knuckles.

Aspirin is useless for that type of pain,
the kind that sometimes wakes you right before dawn
or stabs you square in the gut
when you’re chatting on the sidewalk with friends
and suddenly a person walks by with their head down,
tilted, a private smile on their face
and you fall in love for just a moment.

I write to that spot.
My poems address the ache, press into it a little
and release, let the flesh bounce back into place.
It helps, you know. It helps in the way
you tell a child to turn off his lamp
specifically because he’s afraid of the dark.

Just a Dream

I dreamt of you last night
and awoke today with the crashing
waves of anger turning me white-hot
Your words still spilling
from that deep charred place
Me bitter like black coffee,
rousing myself heavy from bed
jaw sore from grinding, gnashing

Unsure if I want to dissolve
or combust; slip back to sleep
or sprint to the moon

It’s just a dream, I have to breathe
I have to remember
and let go
and stop
hoping
you’ll
call

Did you die angry? Wait-
you didn’t die- are you
angry with me now? Because
I wasn’t there? Because I
can’t give you my whole
life, 24 hours of my
every day? If I could,
I would. I would. Boy,
there is no replacement
for you. No replacement
-you said. Why would you do
this to someone you love?
My heart is on fire from
your desperation. When
did this become
your destination? Boy,
I loved you no matter
how sick you were. Is
this how you treat
someone you love? Boy,
I’ve just about had
enough. But your promises
keep me coming back around,
every time. Tying me down.
I just wanted to love you
the best way I knew how.