19

Maybe I love you like
I love a friend’s photo albums:
distantly; a story apart from mine,
adoringly; happy for their happiness, or
curiously; questions I don’t
know the answers to.

Maybe I think of you like
a dream forgotten
by coffee brew.

But every afternoon at 3:39pm
hitting that midday wall
my sleepy yawn ignites a memory:
hard hands holding mine
dress shirts, hung neat
the clink of unmatched glassware

Dreamt dreams reminding reality
of a fever I couldn’t sweat out
of a nice heart I couldn’t melt
of a boy I swore I hadn’t met
but knew, somehow.

My mother warned me about him
while tucking me into
princess palace sleep:
“A hyena doesn’t always have
flesh in his teeth. Know enough
to stay away.”

But when the mercury rose too high
on that temperate thermometer
my mother also used to
keep me near a pot,
rolling boil, saying
“Stay as long as you can,
and you can sweat the toxins out.”

39 thoughts on “19

  1. The transition from built-up dreaminess to hard specificity–almost as if a siren goes off at 3:39 and you’ve been caught daydreaming over your cold coffee all day– is so skillful and satisfying. Like Jay says above, this poem has an enchanting way of changing its dynamics; it’s a roller coaster a bit like an opera aria.

    I love the wordplay in “temperate thermometer” too, the ingenious way it suggests a mom keeping constant guard, almost as if she could decree that it should never record an intemperate number, like a calendar that never shows a Monday. The way that in turn suggests her trying to shield her daughter from all life’s fevers, warding them off with boiling kettles and fairy tales, hovering protectively to ward off all the demons of approaching adulthood. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your stuff. Sensitive, sweet, kind of demure, reductive, living in the vulnerable place. Feminine of a sort, softened and winteresque. I wonder, is there a vibration that holds summer solstice and winter solstice at the same time? I bet you can write about it. If this comment is too aggressive, I apologize, I am trying to find my way through the blackberry brambles and I am noticing that I think it’s oppressive. That’s a start.

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  3. I also just noticed how the wordpress community of friends is evolving for me. Deeper perceptual subtleties are surfacing. Maybe I’m paying more attention. Me thinks I’m softened and therefore me sensitivities are kinder. I think I’m feeling accepted 🙂 that’s kind of a first to actually feel it for myself as a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oviate

    This is actually something I’m going through now with someone.
    For some reason there’s an intensity where we almost dodge each other up to me recently relating to her by mutual friend after hearing her say she can’t understand how shy she suddenly becomes that she shouldn’t be upset with herself over it but look deep into what she’s feeling to understand why she’s feeling that way.
    For me it’s that I’ve gone through so many difficult things like a rough split up that was unexpected (yet, was very bc I ignored the signs) and I lost family at a young age just to have them return just to get sick and die. It’s a lot to process and I need time to take care of myself.
    However, I do feel we’ll be each other’s muse once we make it but I often feel it’ll dissipate because sometimes those feelings win the way when the battles are repeatedly lost.
    But I try to remind myself that something about it seems orchestrated and destined. I got into astrology again after telling that mutual friend that she shouldn’t freeze up to come up with things to chat about because I’ll just ask her the basic chart questions which will guide the conversation where it’s comfortable. I went ahead and looked it up and there is a strange mutual “past life connection” because we have crossed markers which implies intensity. It’s a karmic meeting. It’s just not known if it’s THE karmic meeting and we are probably both afraid to find out right now.

    The heat/toxin line: perfect metaphor

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    1. It’s always so strange to look back on people you once knew so well, and how easy that relationship was to fall apart. Was there validity in the relationship in the first place? Was it really that easy/hard to end? Great insight.

      Liked by 1 person

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