Penmanship

I'll know I have loved you
when it’s not merely
the sound of your voice
or the brush of your hand
that quickens my soul so.

But the shape of the letters
that form your sweet name –
meaningless in any other form.

I’ve studied their curves.
Taken comfort in their lines.
Written them in permanent ink
on the very folds of my being.

Surrender

When will you learn that it’s possible
to put too much faith in your struggle?

What happened, that made pain the only thing
that the lungs of your soul recognize as air?

You can swim all day against the current
and still find yourself no closer to shore.

the walls of this humble home
held so much more than just a roof.

After 40 Years

When manna refuses to fall from heaven
we may find ourselves left with no other option
but to wring it from the earth below our feet.

Acceptance

I’ve come to realize
that maybe I won’t ever understand
all the reasons why you did
what you did.

But I’ve also grown to realize
that maybe that’s ok.

how could i forget

we lay together, composed between foreplay and sobriety.
bodies resting peacefully against the other’s grooves.

my arms draped heavily over hers in a steady embrace,
as our legs intertwined in effortless coordination.

she pulls my fingers close,
and her lips gently caress the crook of my thumb.

we dance a still and silent, horizontal bolero.

Of Your Next Love

Of your next love, dear, I can hold no rights or demands.
But if I were to bid fate a wish; let him be a good man.

Let him give you everything that he can and is willing,
but not so much that he loses himself or grows bitter,
or so selflessly that you can’t bear the unpayable debt.

Let him not lose faith in himself when he lets you down,
nor in you on the days that try him the hardest.

Let him take pride, not in being your first love,
nor your last love, nor in being your best love,
but merely in being counted among the lucky few.

Let him stir in you the catalysts of inspiration,
and let his fires be stoked by the bellows of your soul.

Let him mind your scars from our time together,
and let him grow impatient with my role in them.
But let him also recognize and appreciate in you,
the parts he loves that others before him have left.

Let him speak with you in all manners of joy and sorrow,
and let him hold you in silence when words can do no more.

Lastly, let me find the strength and peace to not say,
“Let him be a better man to you than I ever was.”
Let me hope, simply and purely, that he be a good man.

countdown

What if we met our end
in the same manner we began?

Imagine that death had a gestation period:
nine months, give or take a couple weeks.

We might perceive a change in the wind…
Perhaps buy a test at the local pharmacy.

Two lines are all the indication we’d need.


An initial shock.
Fear and uncertainty.
Back to Walgreens for another test.

Yikes.

“…There was so much I wanted to do before this.”


The closest friends are the first to know.
Some are supportive. Others, less so.

Eventually, acceptance.
We find new strength in our resolve.

Planning and preparation begin shortly after.
Counseling for what to expect,
for both ourselves and our loved ones.
Will this happen naturally at home?
Or will we consider a physician-assisted option?
We’ve never seen so many informational pamphlets.


Showers are held in celebration.
We gift our possessions to family and friends,
rather than the other way around.

In the final months, a photographer is hired to
capture these fleeting moments of transition.
Our eyes dart to and from the camera lens
as we exhale anxious anticipation
and mumble reaffirming phrases to ourselves.

“Who’s gonna want to see this, anyway?”
The album garners a record number of likes on Facebook.


Practice, practice, practice.
We know the route to the hospital forwards and backwards.
Everything is packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Close family flies in from out of town to lend a hand.

“When are you expecting?”
“Oh, any day now.”


Then,
gratefully, after so much anticipation,
but still terrifying in its uncertainty –

quite, quite suddenly,
it is time.