Promise

It flutters like a hummingbird
rapid and delicate
beating against my ribcage
in an attempt to escape
and fly to you
across an ocean.

It chains me to my notebook
demanding ink be
spilled on paper
until words no longer hold meaning
and I run out of thoughts
exhausted.

It pulls me from the ground
making me float
among the clouds and stars
letting me kiss the moon goodnight
as I am lulled to sleep
by the song sung by the wind.

It is a promise
to be there as soon as I can
as long as I can
and the start of a
future with you
both terrifying and wonderful
to begin in a city
an ocean away from
what has always been my home.

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Plucking Petals

He loves me
He loves me not
He loves me
He loves me not
and so on
plucking petals
from a posy
asking a question I
already know the answer to
asking it to the
flowers he gave me
African violets
tucked in my hair
behind my ear
soft and velvety
He loves me
He loves me not
He loves me

Songbirds

My head is
on your shoulder
but my heart is
in your hand
It flutters impatiently as I
wait for you to
kiss me
and trills a little
love song
when you do
You cage it gently
in your chest
for its own protection
and to keep your own company
Tomorrow they will
roost in my ribcage
featherless flightless songbirds
singing in harmonies
and unisons
and the occasional dissonance
content to stay in the
warm sanctuary
of us
not two
but one safe haven
for our hearts
stronger together
than apart

Wings

You wrap yourself around her
like wings folding in
around a songbird
She sings to you of love
and your presence
lets her fly
skimming over treetops
and singing to the world
“Look at me!
See how I fly!
See how beautiful and strong
my wings are
and how they make me free and light!”

The Morning

Sunlight slants through the window
making her chocolate brown hair
shine with copper undertones
A smile plays at the
corners of her mouth
as she sleeps late
on this Sunday morning
You pull her hair
back from her face
and let out a quiet
huff of breath
so as not to wake her
with your laughter as
for the umpteenth time
her unruly bangs fall
back across her
big hazel eyes
closed right now
too-long lashes tangling together
You wrap your arm around her
waist once again
and pull yourself closer to her
your chest pressing against her back
your lips kissing that coppery brown hair
and letting out a contented sigh
as she begins to wake and stir
turning herself to
kiss you good morning

Sleepy

My head bobs
and I struggle to
stay awake
just a bit longer
with you.
I don’t really understand
what you’re saying anymore
but I know it
excites you
as much as
your voice
soothes me.
Absentmindedly
I lace our fingers together
and close my eyes
leaning on your shoulder
humming in response
to whatever you just said.
I hear you chuckle
feel you kiss my hair
wrapping your arms
around me
as I finally give in
to sleep.

On the Back of an Emily Dickinson Poem I Wrote About Your Hands

Your hands are
bigger than mine
your fingers
wrapping around mine
with ease as we
lie in bed
a tangle of
sheets and blankets and
pillows and limbs
or walk through the grocery store
discussing what I’ll make for dinner
and what you can
do to help
In the evening they
find their way to my hips
and I move them
your right hand on my back
your left holding mine
and we dance slow circles
in the living room
stopping more and more often
to kiss until
that is all we’re doing
We wander to bed
and I sit with your
arm around me
your fingers
combing through my hair
reading you poetry by
Galway Kinnell until
I’m half-asleep and you
tuck me in
one last kiss goodnight before you
turn the light out and
press yourself to me
as we fall asleep
your hands holding mine

First Snow

You cross your arms
and bury your face
in the grey scarf
I knitted you
as we stand outside and
watch the snow fall.
I put a hand
on your shoulder and
lead you back inside
to the kitchen
where my mother has
made us mugs of tea.
I can see the
wonderment in your face
as you sip the
steaming liquid
still staring out the window.
It’s your first real snowfall
and I lost count of
how many I’ve seen
years ago
but as we warm our
stiff fingers by the fire
it’s like my first time seeing it
all over again.

Faith in Forever

Her eyelids droop
and you can tell she’s
struggling to stay awake
You close the book
and she tries to tell you to
keep reading
but you are settling yourself
under the quilt
and turning out the light
pulling her into you so her
head is on your shoulder
your arm around her back
With your other hand
you take hers
hold it to your heart
as you hum a lullaby
She sighs as she
gives in to sleep
and you lie
awake in the dark
her warm breath
tickling your collarbones
as you wonder how
nights like this became your
every night
when you thought you had
lost your faith in
forever.

Perhaps she became it.

Letters

We’ve been writing each other letters all summer, and every time I read my name in your handwriting, it feels like coming home.  If I close my eyes, I can see you carefully curling your wrist forward around your pen, to trace it out in thin, neat cursive, making sure not to smudge the ink with the side of your hand.

I wonder how you feel, seeing your own name in my sloppy script, as you read my replies.  Do you feel as warm and safe, knowing it’s in good hands?  Or at least, hands that try to be good.  Sometimes they can’t help but indulge themselves, moving my pen to outline love letters and poems, or sappy musings such as these.

Perhaps someday I will know exactly how you feel, watching you read my words, seeing the changes in your face as the corners of your lips turn up to smile.