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

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

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

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

you and I

I am tattered but let me explain

only broken in cracks, not pieces

not glued;
re-attached

I will wear my socks
to my knees
and I will beg for your skin
(but only because that
is what I want and how I
want it)

I have cried out for more
asking the same questions
over and again

now, I’m not asking,
I am demanding

we will get what we want
from each other,
you and I

-A

The Fight About Tupperware

The fight about Tupperware wasn’t really about Tupperware
but rather, how I ran through every prayer I know
and stopped at three.

It was about guilt – about wanting to be there
and not being there,
about only remembering three prayers
and being too busy to call.

The fight about Tupperware wasn’t really about Tupperware
but rather, how I shoved clean laundry on the floor
to go to bed.

It was about exhaustion – about wanting to fall asleep
and not being able to,
about my teardrops landing on the cat
as rain on fur.

The fight about Tupperware wasn’t really about Tupperware
but rather, how I ran through every prayer I know
and stopped at three,
my teardrops landing on the cat
as rain on fur,
while she was scared and alone on a hospital bed
and I wasn’t there.

The fight about Tupperware was really about pain.

-L

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