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.