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i lost you beneath the waves
holy rolling unstoppable
the great gasp of last chance buoying you,
bobbing momentary speck on horizon
gone and there and gone again

knowing shore side opposite exists

or existed once

(but by memory and so long ago)

the same way i know your skin to be a topographic study
in want versus need and all the ways you fed me,
that young hearted ache of right now or not ever

knowing shore side opposite exists but never being able to reach it

i stood there,
hopelessly not helplessly

(i’ve never considered myself a strong swimmer but laud my ability to float)

and studied angry reflection of storm-build sky against broken glass wet
warning me not to foolishly wade in after you
your flailing arms and dish-cloth damp gurgle begging
the way wind and wave push-pull smashed diamond sand,
the whoosh of here once now back again

you always said how much you love the water

asked to scatter you,
ash-burnt but not forgotten,
to high wind and low depth

i imagined it often –
me, somber black lace-eyed and slumped,
speaking sweet somethings,
timed tears and catch-in-throat sunset goodbye,
handfuls of your sparkling white bone sticking to summer faded skin
the brittle breath of last season gasp carrying you

(those tragic, beautiful and wrecked bits of you)

out to drown

such an easy way to say goodbye
wind and wave doing all the hard work

but instead, here you are:
wanting life raft for new start
waving spastically, begging even

(you would be so disappointed, in another mind, another way, seeing yourself like this)

but, you see, you and me been drifting this way for some time now
and while you’ve been thrill-seeking wave-riding
i’ve been digging heels into rich soil,
shooting roots seven layers deep
to keep me grounded in even your wildest storms

threatening me motionless
you’ve been waiting for this

sputtering ocean water at the breakfast table as practice

you could’ve at least let me finish my coffee first

this has never been about currents
or riptides
or the magnetic pull of moon
not sinking ships or abandoned widow’s peak
but the slow churn of storm-thrash reality that

i, life jacket

i, lighthouse

i, coast guard

i, dog paddle determination

was the first to let go
and the first to reach shore
and you, deep water dark dramatics,
aren’t a strong swimmer no matter how big the splash

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