Misunderstanding

Our last moments together
feel like a tragic misunderstanding now;
I thought that you were high
as you wiped sleep from your eyes,
so I turned around and walked out.
It wasn’t the last time I saw you,
just the last time I saw you alive,
and I wish that I had tried
to see you,
simply you,
underneath it all.
Instead,
what I remember most
is finally getting that call,
dropping the phone
and driving for miles,
but not fast enough.
It was never enough –
not enough time,
not enough strength,
not enough love.
I have enough regrets
to last a lifetime,
but none of them are a lifeline
that will ever bring you back.

Six feet apart

We control what we can right now:
bandanas on our faces,
even if we can’t breathe;
winter gloves on our hands,
even if it’s seventy degrees outside
(because who can find latex ones anymore);
mindful distancing between ourselves and
people we don’t know,
and sometimes even people we do know.
But
it still feels like
too little, too late.
It still feels so far out of our control:
the people who won’t cover their faces
even though it’s now a law;
those with free fingers,
touching every available surface in sight;
limits on the amount of food we can bring home
even though we’re supposed to stay home
as much as possible.
We try to remember
to wash our hands all day long
until they are raw.
We try to remember
not to touch
our nose
our mouth
our eyes,
even if it kills us –
because it actually might kill us.
We try to remember
that this can’t last forever.
Until it’s over,
we just wash our hands again
so they are clean
while we wrestle for control,
six feet apart. 

-L.R.Y.
(based on the writing prompt of “control”)

Trial run

Selective quarantine and
three crazy dogs;
no one has been eaten yet,
and we are keeping the peace.
I mean,
it’s only been two days
and we have to last two weeks,
at least,
but I told you
we couldn’t get married
until we lived under one roof,
so I guess
this is a good first step,
especially since you brought me
breakfast in bed. 

-L.R.Y.
(3/24/20)

Marshaflower

You are
my earliest memory,
the piece of the puzzle
that changed me in an instant.
I made up names for you
before you were born,
and told you stories
from the vast imagination of a 2-year-old.
Later,
I created games
where you were a martian in a skirt
or a pretty pretty princess,
and for a while
I could bribe you
by claiming you were my best friend.
It wasn’t until years later
that I realized
it was the truest thing I’ve ever said.

-L.R.Y. (2/2/20)

“You jump, I jump”

Some things are tangible,
quantifiable:
the miles between us,
the number of texts,
the hours until I see you next.
The important things,
those are harder to describe
in amounts we can touch,
like the fact that sometimes
I feel like I already love you too much.
I tried to keep it contained
by saying “two weeks”,
but there was no point to it;
we both already knew it.
I had told myself that next time,
I would stall the fall,
but you’re not the next time I expected.
You are
softer,
kinder,
easier to trust,
and I think maybe that must
count for so much more
than all the times before.
I focus
on the beginning now,
and hope that somehow
we’ll never make it to an end. 

-L.R.Y.

 

“When I was all in”

I used to let you
do most of the talking,
but now I have so much to say
and I just don’t know how.
Silence settled in between the screaming,
and I know I’m only dreaming
we can work this out now,
but I’ll keep trying
until you say “when”.
I’ll do the talking
if you won’t,
I’ll love you
even if you don’t.
I know what I did wrong,
and I wish I’d known it all along,
but I’m trying now.
Does that count at all?
Maybe not,
but I’m not ready to let go,
I’m not ready to stop. 

-L.R.Y.

Almost but not quite

I ache
for a peace I never find,
with or without you,
and I suppose it’s true –
we can’t love someone else
until we love ourselves.
I broke
off pieces of myself,
trying to fit
the mold within my mind
of the person I thought you wanted me to be,
and now I see
that I broke us instead.
I thought that we could mend,
use glue and tape to make
us whole again,
but maybe I was dreaming,
maybe I was wishing
it was more than it is.
I’m ready to love you
better than I did before,
but I’m not sure
it matters now,
and somehow,
it’s almost the perfect ending
because it makes no sense at all. 

-L.R.Y.
(7/24/19)

Past tense

There were months
when I knew you could call at any time,
and I would stay quiet on the line
while you jumped
from one topic to another.
Sometimes I felt smothered,
but
I would take that
over the silence here now,
a silence so loud
I can hear it pounding in my head.
I’d even take the fighting instead,
something we both chose for months
with no hope of an end,
with no way to pretend
it was getting better.
I wrote you letter after letter
in the form of poems never read,
though I thought about sending them
just to see what you would say.
Now
everything is too little, too late
and there are no words left to say
out loud.
I remember the day
you told me you loved me,
in the dark in your bed,
and I think about everything I could have said
each day since then.
I know now that I let too many doubts
crawl between us,
and I never trusted you enough
to simply love you
in the way that you expected.
I try connecting
our timeline in my head,
play it over and over
as if it will at some point make sense
but
nothing makes sense in past tense. 

-L.R.Y.