Thursday, July 1, 2021


 We Come To Love

We always come to love alone.

Nothing left but a self that

We’re tired of lugging around.

We come to love unloaded,

Having dumped some ballast while 

The rest had a way of just falling off.

We lost interest in things

Particularly the ones that stopped mattering

Along with a few that still do

(Like fireworks, like backflips).

But we kept persisting, twisting keys

To start cars stripped of engines.

Just gaze into a mirror some pre-dawn morning

And you’ll find something else has fallen away,

Maybe that silvered eyelash or your last sliver of shame,

Some crucially defining detail you remember from yesterday.

Time distills, de-differentiates stepping

Stones into soft hexagons of spongy moss.

The wisdom of age conjugates

Algal slurries for excretion.

We come to love empty handed.

Nothing to offer, nothing left to give.

We’re dead broke.

Nothing in our pockets but matches and couplets.

And we've burned through enough good will

To cloak the sun behind a slate gray smoke.

We come to love untidy, unkempt,

Disheveled and unshowered.

We’re the ones asked to leave

Wedding feasts, told to pack our things,

Shown the way to the nearest exits.

We’ve walked away from jobs,

Ripped up gold-embossed certificates,

Turned our backs on money,

On rewards, on applause.

We’ve left all the bosses slack-jawed

And friends holding empty burlap bags.

We forgot the stamps on all our thank you notes

And omitted the return addresses

From the backs of the envelopes.

We’ve driven cars over cliffs,

Plummeting into this silent abyss

That we'll learn to call "grief",

Someday, when we surface

And words become possible again.

We’ve stripped down to

Nothing but blanched bones,

Ice picked our eyes,

And plugged our ears

With the burgundy clots of old blood

Seeping from crowns of thorns.

You know, I’ve forgotten the difference

Between what soothes and what hurts.

It all just blurs into the notion of touch

Which, sometimes, is just the frontier

Between loneliness and anyone else here.

And that’s not saying much.

We arrive at love bereft:

Of possessions, of friends

Of pleasures, of slights,

Of sounds, of silences,

Of rituals or rites.  

We arrive at last at love.

Just as it was.

Just the way we had left.


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