summer and fall 2016 poetry.

I guess it’s about time for this.

I. young man

take the steps two at a time

out of water, out of time

crouch to greet the littlest one

ruffled hair and morning sun

shadow against the moon’s rise

clouds make way for northern lights

follow you down the path again

strong hands, warm eyes, bright young grin

take the steps two at a time

out of water, outside time

 

II. weekend afternoon

I’d much rather turn

over in bed to find you

than do my homework

 

III. living alone again

I spent the morning

In alternate reality

And now the day is lost

It’s too hot yet

for blankets

and too cold to go without

I remember to lock the door

most of the time

 

IV. lucia

the candles bob ahead

and I’m singing, singing

how many years ago was it

that I didn’t know the words

that I was alone

I don’t wear the dress anymore

I only sing what I know

it’s not for me these days

but I sing still

I still know the harmonies

I still know the words

I still follow the light

through the soft summer night

and I know

that I am home here

that I am not alone here

and do you remember tonight

there will be no moon

and that is when I hear,

as I slip out for the last time,

“vi ses där ute”

 

interlude. lucia, rewritten

the candles bob ahead

the stars wink in the night

I’m singing, singing

about winter and light

how many years ago was it

that I didn’t know the words

that I was alone

how many years ago was it

that I knew all the harmonies

that I was at home

I only sing what I know now

I’m not the star of the show now

But I sing still

I still know the harmonies

I still know the words

I still follow the light

through the soft summer night

and I know

that I am home here

that I am not alone here

the candles bob ahead

the stars wink above

all that is here now

is music and love

 

V. darling friend

When we were seven you taught me

that I was not the only intelligent child in the world

when we were seventeen you taught me

that I was not the only heartbroken girl in the world

and now that we are older still, I

will try to show you

that I am not the only well-loved woman in the world

Together we have been

precocious children

eccentric teenagers

and now, when we are old,

I wish for you

that you are still, in your way,

precocious and eccentric,

that you do not lose sight

of the intelligent child,

nor heartbroken girl, that you were,

that you are always aware

of the love that exists for you

in so many places.

 

VI. lover

Lover is not just a word for

the one who draws

shaky screams

from your parted lips

gasping

sometime before dawn.

Lover is also the word for

the one holding you even

when you lash out,

the one who notices when

your eyes turn sad

the one who knows what

you’re good at

almost as well as you do.

The one who eats your cooking

even when you get it wrong,

the one who comes over

on a Tuesday night just

to chat for twenty minutes.

Lover is the word for

the one who knocks

on your door after

a fight and says,

I’m not going anywhere.

A lover says,

“babe, you should eat,”

“you show them what’s what,”

“tell me about your day,”

and also

“I need your help,”

“I feel safe with you,”

“I’m yours.”

That is what a lover is.

Although the breathless gasps

between countless kisses

are important too.

 

VII. a thing I learned

I was reading last year’s poems

which I thought were empty and sad

it’s six months later and do you know

I never noticed just what I had

so I guess I’ve learned to write my poems

even if I think they’re bad

because they’re not magical nor good nor great

but they are what I was, which was empty and sad

 

VIII. love haiku

morning sun through blinds

from loving you so deeply

my thighs are aching

 

IX. your shirt

i stole it from the floor

where you tossed it last night

old and soft from washing

and smelling of you

and I have not given up wearing it

all day.

and after I do the laundry tomorrow

I will sleep wearing it so

when I give it back to you

you can inhale me too

 

X. stuck in my head

I awoke at four a.m.

to the neighbors’ party noise

and the song I guess

I was dreaming about

has been in my head

ever since

and I cannot sing it

because my mother is visiting

and it is dark and bleak

and speaks of drugs

and prostitution.

 

XI. two crazy kids

sometimes I think that

you and I are the weird ones

in our families

that we think deeper

than our siblings do and our

parents don’t yet know

 

XII. that shirt (slightly inspired by leonard cohen’s ‘anthem’)

darling that shirt

is a little thin

and the fabric lets

the sunlight in

your collarbone

rises fragilely

you’re thinner than

you used to be

i want you still

light on your skin

crack and fall apart for me

baby, let some light in

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