Wednesday, February 27, 2019

it's no secret

The lines on the pages
are those of the fisher,
who reels in his catch diligently,

Each word I write,
I fish for you,
casting my net as wide as the web,
hoping to snag you
in my currents.

I write to bring you back across the ocean
into an impossible embrace in my arms.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

heart's reasons

I would cut off my right hand for him
and other lies I tell myself to make me think—

(Mary, I’m trying to make myself heard,
whispers the angel)

I slowly patch the white stickers over the screws

What are Fifteen Things I Love About You?
1. I love how intelligent you are

I can't think of any more.

Except your voice, your eyes that sparkle, your quizzical expressions, your lips, your hair. Your written words that spill out in affirmation and kindness, deep from your heart.

Something has shattered, and I am trying to puzzle it back together.

This morning, I sit at my kitchen table, and weep and weep and weep. I weep inconsolably. I can't remember what I thought of, what moment together came back to my head.

But I sob. God help me! I cry out. God, I repeat over and over again into my hands, cupping my face: God. Help. Me.

I blubber my way to calmness.

And then I write an email. This is what I will say (I don't say it):

Dear [An Empty Space Where I Would Write Your Name],

Tonight, at Mass, I cry, because I think of how you looked on that park bench on Morningside in October. Why did I wrap you gently? Carry you tenderly? Why was I so harsh, when you were so vulnerable—why couldn't I see how fragile you were? I want to love you forever, you said.
Don't worry, I said, we will. And I betrayed you. Oh I betrayed you.

But I do love you. I love you right now. So much.

I don't send it.

Cover the screws with patches,
the tacky kind of stickers that are shiny.

When things are afraid, they become harsh.
Like these stickers.

Trust me, says God.

God, I reply calmly—
chipping the paint off my fingernails—
I do not trust you.

People need you to love them,
and you need your love.
But not the yawning gape.

I feel a sense of poetry returning.
The world is enchanted again.

Listen to your own writing,
To the sweet unrest of grace.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


I remember my mother's riposte to my heart-broken ass my freshman year of college spring break: well this is how you made Jack feel. Jack was my highschool boyfriend, and my mother's entire assertion was riddled with problematic comparisons of generically distinct fruits.

I'm not sure if she was trying to give me a lesson in empathy, but I felt (and I was, objectively, correct) that it was a monumentally unjust response to my crushed little heart bleeding all over the front seat of our Toyota Sienna, as it had bled all over the floor tiles of Lewis Hall, the green grass of South Quad, and the pages of my journal in the previous months.

Heartbreak is such a terrible, terrible disappointment.

But it is different than having expectations crushed. Heartbreak is something genuine affection, plus time. If you have been truly seen, for a second, by someone you also saw as beautiful, and then they decide that this seeing no longer holds, or their vision changes, or some factors disrupt sightlines and the image splinters, then this is heartbreak.

Heartbreak is fomented by returning the moment of truth: the date on the beach, the letter that oozes divinity, the rainy morning in bed. It is easy to torture yourself in heartbreak: you simply return to those moments and try to square them with the new reality: which has rendered those old realities sterile and impotent: you have no use for these moments now. They are bricks lying on the ground, which you can no longer use in your project of building.

I think heartbreak makes you both more and less kind towards those experiencing heartbreak. You know, on one hand, that you can (I think?) move on (they tell me you can, and I think the world can become more than simply a glass box that I wash each morning and night with my tears, but I am not yet quite convinced that it will be true this time). I think it also makes you kinder when disappointing others' expectations. But also recognizing that what they are upset about are simply that: the disappointment of their own expectations rather than some claim they had on you.

Hearbreak can make you both witheringly untouched by disappointments of a less-severe pitch and wiltingly empathetic toward disappointment of all stripes.

Because heartbreak is such a terrible, terrible disappointment.