follow currents

hollow bones
follow currents
invisible as the breath
that fills my lungs

I remember watching the river with you
that summer
learning how to read the current
the flow, the seams, the ripples, the patterns
a language not spoken, but observed

lately, I learn new words
(a virga is a streak
of rain across the sky
that dissipates before ever
touching the ground)

try to name my grief
try to name my guilt
try to name them over and over but they

flow from somewhere else,
not mouth or brain

sit inside spaces
unspoken

and I remember, always, the river
as I look towards the sky
and breathe in
as I dig into the dirt
and observe

currents are wind and water
light and earth
leading and guiding
so that I may follow

-A

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Bound

My cousin asked my other cousin to come bury her dead horse
and I can’t get the image out of my mind
of him standing over the giant chocolate steed,
head bowed,
praying.

In our part of Ohio the soil is a sponge in the rain –
dark, porous and alive;
while in the dry, hot summer it is a powder –
light brown and airborne.

Little cousins kick up dust in the diamond;
bigger cousins rush home with dinner after work;
the large orange sun sets over the hills around the Valley;
and they all see each other on Sunday at church.

I don’t pray on Sundays at mass
but I do think about the way the wet earth feels
planting flowers on a sticky summer Sunday night.
Such images keep me bound.

-L

wisdom, hard won

i have laid in bed at night
tossing and turning
feeling the absence of your body
next to mine
feeling the absence of your hand
holding mine

cool mornings remind me of the distance
that has crept between us
from a time when, even though
it was summer in the chihuahuan desert,
you would hold me each night and each morning
like a treasure

i have remembered your tears
tried to transform their moisture
into answers to all my questions
about where we went wrong

because even though i packed my bags
and left,
you closed the door behind me

lately, instead, i choose to remember
that my hands hold themselves,
this pen, a garden rake, handlebars
just fine

that i have the tools within me
to cultivate sorrow, loss, and grief into
wisdom, hard won

-A

on leaving

yesterday morning, as i headed north
out of town
the clouds shrouded the
organ mountain peaks
indicating the change in seasons
to come

soon, the monsoons will
wash the desert floor and
it will grow, green and lush
cholla and yucca swelling
with moisture

in this way, i stand strong
like those granite peaks
through the darkness of
this season of transition

knowing that my pain is temporary
knowing that me anger is temporary
knowing that my grief is temporary

soon, the rain will come,
wash me anew
and i will
inevitably
grow

-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

Waning Crescent

The morning after the wind storm
we have to stop the car for wild turkeys
who decide to turn back to the hill they just descended
before flying over us as we pass on
to the state park where fallen trees litter the trails
and we can hear creaking as the forest settles
into its new position.

Like those trees tilted and leaning on each other,
I am still settling
into what it means now
to walk through life with another person.

-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.