on jealousy

grind me into the ground
make my shadow fit into
a smaller box

living on the polar edges of
envy and intrigue is
exhausting

i see snow fall,
sun light,
swing the axe,
hit the wood,
watch it splinter into
four pieces, equal

i notice the bag you
drag behind you,
filled with limbs and
hair and tongues

i am dried up,
i am at odds with
these bones

but inside, you are a skeleton,
these bones have made you

if i love you
(i do love you)

i can recognize
your foundation

admire the color and texture
it has given you

hear your song, your truth

and choose to hold you

and choose to sing my song
back to you

-A

a carrot in hand

when you returned from
cuba, i picked you up
from the airport in denver,
at midnight – so dark,
winter stars shone and
i brought you a carrot

a month apart, so early
into our relationship –
i remember sitting by
the baggage corral,
knees tucked to my chest,
trying to keep from shaking

i don’t own you, no
nor do you own me

but we are pulled
to one another by
magnetism of skin
and bones

i always want to know,
look for clues,
ask everyone
how
does
it
work

when i returned from
a wedding in ohio,
you picked me up from
the airport in denver,
midday, sun bright and
sky blue

i saw you as i exited the terminal,
a smile on your face and
a carrot in your hand

this must be
how it works

-A

How Our Garden Grows

Yellow pansies for me,
multi-color for you,
then six more
for that price!

Dianthus because it blooms later
and we hope for butterflies
and I like the sound of “fire star”.

Columbine because it is large
and unruly and blue.

And a fourth whose name we forget.
Also blue.

You agree to a second store
because we still need the birdhouse –
The cats would love it.

A smile. A dream.

Later, hands in the earth.
Adding cool, dark, pillowy soil
to the dried dirt and rocks.
Leaving some of the weeds
because if they make it to the top,
they deserve it.

My hands know exactly what to do:
how much pressure to apply,
how to be gentle yet firm,
how to dig and mound and shape
from years of practice with my mother.

This is your first time,
but instinctively
you know, too.

Another smile.

Twilight, cats at the window.
No birds yet.
Waiting for our garden to grow.

-LIMG_0502

let us be

how many ways are there
to love someone?

we keep finding new ones,
you and i

the papersack lunch you send with me
on my way out the door

sitting in your mom’s floor, 3 am, reunited
naked with a guitar, singing

your hand resting easily on my thigh under
the table at dinner

floating silently in the hot springs
as the feathery snow falls all around us

reading spanish before bed,
dictionary in hand

meditating next to one another in the mornings,
hearing each other breathe,
centering in on the junipers and
the empty space in my mind

holding me this way
holding you that

i tell myself now, that
when i feel panic
i will allow myself to see you
to see me

and to let us be.

-A

walls

i want to build up four walls
to keep you out

and yet
i want to build walls
that we can live in
together

i don’t know where
i am going and i can’t tell
if you are going there, too
(i want you to)
(but will you?)

there are reminders
nearly everywhere
for me to take up space
and breathe

i see my shadow as i run
along the rio and
the notches in my spine
remind me of the ridgeline
of the sangre de cristos
turning pink in the
evening sun

i have never felt so close to another

how do i say
how do i tell you
with each breath that sinks into
my lungs
that you make sunlight brighter
my nights warmer
my laughter fuller

and that i want to leave so
i won’t be left

-A

light like feathers

I love you, he says
and I hear him,
and I don’t wish it were any different

The next morning,
when his truck won’t start,
we walk up the hill and
push each other into the snow,
light like feathers
laughing
floating

Today, I try to fight back tears
feel the weight of frustration that
I can’t accept
don’t accept
the love that people offer me
the love that he offers me

I wrote in October that
I want to think of a relationship as
a small, moving piece in the whole of my story,
not the focal point

I want to accept that love is not a promise,
but an acknowledgement
of who we are to each other
right now

How do I allow myself (not force myself)
to feel through the static
of past trauma
without giving it the power
to define who I am and
how my relationships are
today?

-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

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

Relationship Status

at night the mountains look like the backs of furry animals:
alive, under so many stars;
and in the day the world is blinding and white,
but still we make our way through the snow.

we are covering quite a bit of ground together in this short time –
but why wait?

in a few days I’ll be gone to Africa
and anyway,
why shouldn’t you see the Amish buggies that drive down the lane?
and know that I spent my childhood in a brick house that smelled of boiled Brussels sprouts?

what I mean is,
why stick to someone else’s timeline
when we know exactly the ending we want?

-L

i love the way you

hold me
cry at movies
cut sweet potatoes small
help me with my bike
weed the garden, watch it grow
listen to friday night radio
teach me knots
smile nervously in big situations
laugh easily with others
dive head first into something new
listen to me ask big questions
(listen to me complain)
hold my face gently when you kiss me
let me paint your toenails
ask me to edit your writing
motivate me to be present
drive the long drives
have never won a game against me
bring home sweet treats
have a hat for every occasion
appreciate sunsets, appreciate rain
know me, love me, support me

thanks

-A.S.