of me and men

maybe the problem is that I’m too whole.

men-

they like to feel useful;

to fix broken things.

and for a while there, I was

shattered and bare

the perfect fix-it project for a man with raw hands.

but these days I don’t need to find

some missing part

of me.

I am complete.

no longer just a puzzle piece

but the whole goddamn picture

and yet. they still

can’t see

it.

see me.

 

 

shedding

I have cried on the wooden floor

beside my dresser

my hands caressing the imperfect object with love

I have cried on the sofa,

head buried in pillows as my mouth

gasped for air

and silence

I have cried on my bed

and on pages scribbled in black ink

my tears distorting my words

turning them into strange shapes-

this one, a boot

and that other one, a star

I have cried at my work desk, right in front

of the computer

and on the massage table so many times

now I’ve lost count

I have cried while riding my bike-

I can’t help it

this mountain town used to be yours alone

but now it’s become mine.

 

Only mine.

 

I have cried on runs around the lake, while

chopping vegetables, and a handful of times

on first dates

I have cried in the public bus,

most often behind dark sunglasses but

in front of strangers who’ll never

know my name-

which to me seems strange.

we have shared so many of my tears

together.

I have cried as I stood held in long embraces

by those who I can sense feel bad

for not having the right words to say-

they still haven’t learned that

there are none.

I have cried as my face seemed to freeze

distorted with pain

and as my voice escaped from me in the shape

of a scream

the only sound I can make when nothing

makes any sense

and not always, but sometimes

I try to muffle it so the neighbors don’t think I’m insane

I think that’s ok-

the screams are not like the tears.

I have cried over both

death and life

and all the words I can no longer write

without hearing his name

I have cried in planes and

in cities far, far away-

enough to know that my tears will always

tag right along with me

the saddest carry-on.

I have cried in the arms of my mother

a few times but last time

was on top of a carpet covered with crumbs

which gave me a kind of sad comfort-

to know I wasn’t the only thing broken

lying there.

I have cried until lashes fell out

enough of them for the entire world to make wishes with-

because the lashes

(it seems funny to say it now)

wanted nothing to do with my tears

and I can still remember the first time I cried

in front of him

my hands on my face and then, his

I hid in shame because back then

I didn’t yet understand

that tears

are just feelings I haven’t learned how

to write down

yet.

 

But I do know how to cry now.

 

and someday  I’ll learn to write the tears away

but even then I’ll know

it will only be because

I

have

cried.

 

 

Notes to My Pen Pal

I’m sorry I’ve been gone, I’ve had good reason-

I’ve been feeling all the extremes and writing about it, hoping somehow this grief gives life to a book.

there is life amidst death

I’ve read somewhere…

Surely you understand the vortex I’ve been in.
You’re a troubled writer, too.
Tell me, where are you these days? still traveling the world?
What have you written lately?
I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.