it’s hard to be around
people who don’t know
keeping the mask on
pretending I’m okay
trying not to
let them see
just how damaged I am inside.
It makes me tired.

But sometimes
I get to spend the day
with you
and all the worries
all the pain
wash away
the mask falls off
and there’s still a
smile on my face.
You take my tiredness away.



Five-thirty in the morning
the warmth or your chest
pressed against my back
your left arm wrapped
securely around my waist
your right threaded under my neck

You buried your face in my hair
as our legs tangled together
in a rare moment of vulnerability
fueled by mutual exhaustion

If I Could

If I could
I’d bottle your smile
and pour it into my heart
when I’m feeling down.
I’d cradle your heart
like a fluttering bird
and close to my own.

If I could
I’d only make you smile
and turn bad thoughts
from sour to sweet.
I’d keep you safe
from sorrows and harm
and always loved.

If I could
I’d stay by your side
a partner for love
a partner for life.
I’d protect and
take care of you
if only you’d ask.

If You’ll Keep Me

I am completely and irrevocably
in love with you

You who have
cradled my heart so gently
like a songbird with a
broken wing

You who have
made me laugh
even on my
darkest days

You who have
shown me your passion for life
for the work that you do
and for the small piece of the world
you live in

I am yours completely
for always
if you’ll keep me

The Day Before

The day before your birthday, we sat with our feet in the river and talked. We said all the things we could only say when we were alone; the ways your dad drives you crazy, the childish mishaps we had when we were dating, the things we momentarily forgot in the comfort of the present… It was the day before your birthday, and I got us matching notebooks. Small, leather, with binder clasps to refill them. Mine a deep, matte teal, yours an almost glossy brown. I hope every time you write in it you think of me, and of talking with our feet in the river, the day before your birthday.

Happy birthday to my best friend in the world.  I love you.


Early Riser

Your head on my pillow
in the light of the
sunset through my window
you were gone by the time the
sun rose in the morning
waiting for me in the kitchen
when I awoke
a mug of tea
wrapped in your hands
an empty one
waiting for me
to join you.

Dear June

Dear June

It’s hard to believe it’s been
almost four years
since you left all of us who
love you.
It’s harder still to believe all the
things that have happened
since then.

Dear June

The last thing you told me
was how proud you were
seeing me dance in college
and seeing everything I was
striving to accomplish.
Even though you couldn’t
be there in person
it meant a lot to me
how much you cared.
Even as you fought for
every minute you
gave some of those minutes
to me.

Dear June

I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you more after I
graduated from high school and
left your studio.
I never even picked up
the DVDs of my
last recital with you.
I’ve never been good at
staying in touch
even with the people who
used to matter the most.

Dear June

I’m sorry I never came to
say goodbye.
I was scared and didn’t know
how to handle pain and grief
so big and strong.
I’m still not sure what to
do with it
despite having it in my heart
so long.

Dear June

I know that this is
too little, too late
talking to you like this now
but I have so much to tell you
that you can’t be around to hear.
I’m really a teacher now.
I’ll be in my first classroom
starting this fall
and I know you’d still be
so proud of how much I’ve grown
from that little girl just
six years old
into who I am today.

Dear June

I hope you know
I miss you.
The peace you have now is
I’m glad you’re not in pain

Hammock by the River

Cradled in the hammock
you beside me
with the wind through the trees
a melody just for us

Sunshine mottled on our faces
through the leaves
and my freckles becoming
more each minute

The smile on your face
as we think about the future
more meaningful than even
the most heartfelt love song

The thought you put into your words
as we talk about everything
worth more to me than even
the most expensive ring in the world

The Music Room

I fall in love too much, too quickly. As soon as I saw the room, I was in love with it.  I could see posters and decorations up on the walls, my horn on its stand in the corner.  I could see my name in the hallway, next to the door, and the smiling faces of students I’ve yet to meet.  It’s amazing how much love you can find for something you may not even get.  But I think that’s the beauty of being a teacher — love is what you reap because love is what you sow.


You tuck me into bed
kiss my forehead
and wander
back out of the room.
I can see the light
in the hallway
through the
crack beneath our
bedroom door
and I know
you’re in your office
still working
still building the future
and I know you’ll
come to bed later
and be up before I’m awake
and as much as I
wish you’d sleep more
I know this is
to you
to me
to us
and that
even as I fall asleep
you’re working to
keep what we have