pain, the teacher

i look with wonder
at myself,
first

when i left him,
i asked my pain
what she might teach me

it was me,
falling on the rock,
bleeding ankle,
laughing to the sun

it was me,
plucking my guitar strings,
teary eyes,
singing to the quiet

it was me,
tending to the garden,
sweaty brow,
giving thanks to the dark soil

it was me,
picking up,
carrying through,
owning up and
accepting the weight

it was me,
trudging up the snowy hill,
surprising my own self
with my movement
with my stillness

i tell you now that
i have not forgotten my pain

but i have arrived on the other side
where i can carry her lessons
with me;

that my hands are never empty,
that my heart heals when i sing my song,

that i am worth
all of the wonder
i can give myself

-A

a new beginning

how to explain the
feeling of you
next to me?

i felt it easily, that first
night when i told you about
tarantula hawks and
my first climbing lead fall

i remember leaving and
knowing that
you felt it, too.

we’re sitting by the fire
on a chilly december evening,
longing to know one another,
drinking each other in.

“would it be insane if i
kissed you?” you ask in a shy way.

i think about all the ways
my heart was broken
only a few months before

think about the words i said to him,
picture them as shards of glass,
envision them in reverse, not
piercing him, not causing him to bleed
flying back into my mouth where they will
stay and never hurt him.

on this morning, i wake in your bed
and still, though it is dark outside,
a morning glow beams on the horizon
where the snowy san juans are dimly outlined

i feel close to you, feel pulled to you
(we are pulled to each other)

i leave with a loaf of bread in hand,
a tender kiss goodbye
and the promise (no, not promise)
the possibility of
a new beginning

-A

when he watches you walk away

i remember writing you an e-mail
letters
crying in your arms
crying alone on the floor

feeling the weight of all
we were about to lose

clawing at glass
begging for time, patience
your love
another chance

looking for answers in
your tears, words
silence
choices

but you let me go

there is pain in my whole body
and i have decided to allow it
to serve its time and purpose

then, i will be able to let it go –
that is where my power lies

in letting it go

-A

endings/beginnings

i wonder if he’s considered my heart
shattering
when he walks away each time

i wonder if he’s considered my voice
wavering
when i tell him goodbye, goodbye, this is for the best, goodbye

i know i gave him my heart, but does he remember my heart?
does he remember the curve of my spine, hips
the warmth of my skin
as he holds another?

does he remember the love we shared?
the whispers, the tears, the morning tea
and laughter in between bed sheets?
it’s gone now, it has disappeared
but it lingers, for me, in memory

does he remember?
has he considered?

did it exist? did i matter?
if he doesn’t?

is there an end to
remembering?

and if there is

if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it
does it make a sound?

if my relationship ends and there is no one left to remember it,
did it happen? was it important?

where can i go to ease my pain?
not in memory
not in ending

perhaps, in embracing
beginnings

-A

on leaving

for some reason, i start with the refrigerator magnets
the polaroid of us from when you visited
the first place i ever felt myself

we woke up that cold november morning, embracing
to stay warm and we marveled at how
i had never slept a full night in
someone’s arms before

the boxes i am trying to fill are
broken down and i try to tape them
and i wish you were here to help

and last night, your tears fell onto
my pillow as i told you our time together
is growing shorter

i want to believe that love lost still matters
that all we shared over the past few years
doesn’t just disappear
when i walk out the door

when i do step, i see
sunlight and mountains
and all the colors of springtime that
bloom

and even though you are no longer
by my side, i feel you and know

i will never forget you

-A