for the one who woke this morning, uncertain how it is possible to have come this far and you stand in the space where nothing makes sense but there is still this. here. your own survival. your breath that filled lungs that expanded and your eyes adjusting, taking in the smooth arc of skin that curves from clavicle to the last rung of the rib cage. . .
i keep thinking of you.
though i do not know if it is intellectual thought as much as orientation, the way something in my body and bitten lip keep turning toward you, needing to know your location, needing to keep scanning the crowds and looking through all the languages until eyes lock and we land again, returned to the unnamed space where we silence neither the knowing of brutality nor the love lush as the greenhouse where you turned again to the light which is life.
the truth is, nothing i can ever say could ever make any of it better.
there is not a version of the story where the good measures so great that it ever takes away the horror or the holes left from when that which you loved and could not live without suddenly was taken.
there are no do overs, and this life seems not particularly interested in owing us anything.
the healing that sometimes happens is exquisite, shattering every idea i once had about how much a human heart can hold. against all odds, it is possible that sometimes our grief gives us our humanity, restores us to relationship.
but it does not return us to what once was.
so i refuse to meet you the morning when you wake to your own survival and tell you tales of the phoenix rising, the slick stories that carry the sheen of inspiration so as to quell the terror in the teller.
your life does not exist to make others more comfortable.
so just for now, just for this moment, i can offer this. even if nothing is ever made better, i love you and i will meet you in the room where nothing can be undone but for reasons known and unknown, you woke again this morning, breathing and beating life.
and i keep thinking of you. . .
the body that shows the map of injuries and knows a want like hunger and cannot bear to be touched lightly but only strong and sure, the way you might press down hard to try to stop the bleeding.
the haunting of hunting season and the hallowed spaces where you dug out the decay with bruised fists and the way sometimes still, even after all these years, you still feel the way two o’clock tastes on the mouth, filled with broken conquests and steam rising from the concrete. and somewhere in the space where shoulder blades attempt to touch in the chest opening, you still miss it.
the never being able to quite find the right language to say what really happened.
the wanting the relief of not having to explain.
the nightmares that never leave.
the reckless glory of a waterfall washing over you, the sound of it like a roar, and the way she brought you coffee in bed and the plant that hung there in the shower, spilling down like there was still time enough for everything that came after.
the scars that formed on the inside of skin, intimate and devastating, invisible to the rushing world.
i keep thinking of you.
I keep wondering how it is possible we survived.
i keep wanting to hold your face amid all the unthinkable things, and even in the moment by accident, how pulling on jeans over curve of hip and onto waist, i might happen to look up and see a reflection in the mirror, foreign and familiar, finally found.
what are we to do with all this loss?
what are to do with so much beauty?
this is for you.
for all the times you did not want to make it through.
for all the times you did things you never thought you could or would do, just to make it through.
for who you once were.
for who you became in the war you did not choose and the fight you found that saved you.
for the way the warm returned and the salted air changed your skin and you knew again how to let something hold you.
for you. to you. the one who swam to the other side, tossed to shore, waking in the morning to the sound of the city outside your bedroom window and knowing in the marrowed bone that all those things really did happen, and all of it will always be here in you, and so too is the sun and the moon and the stars. you are here in the living and the mango is sweet in the mouth and the dirt clings to feet and your belly breathes power.
this is not a victory march.
this is not an inspirational poem.
this is not about a bouquet of stories on the other side of loss that make it seem advantageous to know this name of suffering.
this is not a need for you to remember or retell.
this is simply me, standing here with an open boarder inside me and eyes that will not look away, saying thank you.
thank you for fighting and finding the way here, feet shaken and heart steady.
thank you for doing what it took.
thank you for your art and uprising.
thank you for giving a home to the sharp teeth or survival and holding the hurt in your lap like there is love enough even for this, even for the unthinkable, even for her, even for here.
thank you for choosing life.