the eleventh hour

Deadlines are helpful
or we wouldn’t bother
to subject ourselves to all
of this pressure.

At least I wouldn’t,
and yet here I am
daily racing the clock
to set feelings to text
before the clock switches
to a whole new day to waste.

I started this with
no real conviction to continue,
but that’s how success happens,
not when you commit,
but when you do the thing.

this is not a love song

I like to see you
in all lights.

The dim of our bedroom
when one of the cats
has woken us up at three a.m.,
bright supermarket fluorescence,
unforgiving and illuminating.
Daylight, so rare for us both
to have the time and inclination,
especially if it’s not for a funeral
or other obligatory outing
that leaves us squinting into our coffees.
Dark bars punctuated by the flash
of cameras that you hate,
sometimes mine, capturing you
like an insect under glass.
Under streetlights in a blizzard
as you trudged to meet me after I left work,
your face the warmest thing for miles.

I’ve studied your face so well,
under all conditions,
that I think I could find it anywhere, if I had to.
I’ve never believed in true love,
and I remain agnostic about reincarnation,
but even then I think I could find you,
if we were separated by dimensions.

Thank goodness that I don’t have to.

what loss looks like

two years ago,
someone i know lost her fiancé.
I can’t remember now
what it was.
probably a car accident.
they’re far more likely
than a plane,
not that anyone cares.

I watched her after that
as if i could see her loss
like a scarlet A on her chest,
a mark of Cain across her head.

but it wasn’t there.

she smiled. she spoke.
she moved on.
I suppose she grieved
in private, as she had
every right to do.

I imagine it’s the same
now that I’m the one
who walks through the halls
with only a smile
to dispel the black cloud
of my father’s murder.

they search my face for cracks
in the surface,
seismic disturbances
to belie the lie
every time I say
“I’m fine.”

sometimes you just go for it

muscles atrophy from disuse.
never forget that
your heart is a muscle.

of course i mean your
figurative heart, that
cartoon beating and swooning,
breaking and bursting.

in a poem, the literal
and the figurative can blur.
and people have literally died
from their figurative heart breaking.

it’s easier to keep going
than to restart.
but do what you must.