A Letter To The One I’m Waiting For

*A special posting for Valentine’s Day*

To Whom It Will Concern:

Do you ache for the quiver in my step
as I approach on soft moss?

Oh, and hello. (forgive me, formality escapes me
when I teeter on the brink of bright flashes)

I’ll begin again:
How are you?
Who are you?
Do you anticipate my arrival,
as I do yours?

I’m afraid I’ve not had much luck.
Swimming upstream in a river of dead fish
slopping down the falls as I shoulder out of the muck.
Put another way: Love has come (and gone) like a pin prick:
it shocks/stings/smarts the finger pad, then
evaporates in the wake of the cosmic accident,
the digit retaining the throb, blood gathering
where surface air meets sebaceous gland.

But then there’s You.
The end of my flopping about,
my sucking of index fingers.
I approach on soft moss.
Do you ache?

I try to remain optimistic,
with my “Will Concern,”
but the kernel of the absolute
lies in its non-existence,
in its very un-American un-guarantee.
Perhaps there is no recipient.
Perhaps Recipient is Writer.
Perhaps I am “going it alone.”

But I’d to think there is a “You,”
a hearth for my heart.
It keeps me light, keeps me
going outside, keeps me
filling mine cup so I can
runneth it over.

My tread is lithe, the moss plush.
Do you ache for the quiver in my step?

Sincerely Yours,
The One You’re Waiting For

(2019)

Am I Home / Am I Whole

I once asked Google to show me the self who is truly loving life.
It asked me to search again.

I once loved a hole through my favorite sweater.
It didn’t prepare me for the hole I would love through a man.

I once asked the trees to grant me an answer to: “Am I Whole?”
They could not, having never needed to ask themselves the same.

I once waited for my life to begin.
The lights shut out all around me, the door locked, everyone went home.

“Am I Home?” I ask the cities I sleep in.
Their lights blink blankly, their traffic a new kind of silence.

“Am I Home?” I ask the men I sleep next to.
They breathe heavy, dream through it, and I ignore my twisted gut churning: “No.”

(2019)

Smokemount

When the light is on its last breath I go down
to the creek to hear it bubble and shimmer black.
Able to name it without seeing it – I’m leaning
into this new trust slowly, nature first.

Without sun, the currents are newly visible in inky jet and etch,
going every which way, not simply forward or down:
Watery folds like snakes, side winding into sand and gone.
The peeling back of dark skins, sinew corded over muscle,
networks wrapping bone.

It is here, in this quiet, lightless moment, that I recognize,
somewhere deep in my own current, milky black and ebbing,
I’ll be ok eventually.

(2019)

How Does Anyone Survive?

Don’t think about it today – Ready Set Wake!
But it scalds the taste buds on the wave of arabica,
dumps out with the cereal prize, arrives
with the mail, mid-afternoon and delayed,
stuck behind some coupon for eggs.

So you get outta dodge – out of The States, for God’s sake –
where you dance in the Midsummer parade and
bathe in the lakes and sweat in the saunas
until you’re bleary-eyed but wide awake.
Where the days overlap like pre-teen chatter, no chance
to cocoon into night, and the light sweeps you up,
clothespins you to the sky – the chance to air dry
those sopping thoughts in the Finnish countryside.

But as you flutter between the birches
it slices down and perches
smack in the middle of your quiet mind
and you think: How does anyone escape?
How does anyone survive?

(2019)

Kuusi Palaa

“It’s all in the context,” Saku told me,
his fifth beer in his right hand,
his second cigarette in his left.
“In Finnish, we have
thousands of ways to say
the same thing.”

Six pieces
Six returns
The moon is returning
“Kuusi Palaa”

And you can forget about love,
about throwing it around.
Rakastan reserved only
for the deepest declaration,
for something my English
cannot touch.

Were I a native speaker,
were you,
maybe then we could’ve trusted
those sacred transactions.

Maybe then we could’ve known
in what context to quit.

Maybe then a relationship
in thousands of pieces
could make thousands of returns.

The moon comes back to hang high,
Rakastan to hang on our lips.

(2019)