The Long Sigh

A long sigh

like an exhale

and then a deep breath

 

I don’t think we’ve ever actually said goodbye, have we?

I spend most of my time

swallowing all the words I want to say

along with the rest of my tears

 

The queue for airport security is the worst

Because all I can think about

is these stupid lengths of fabric

man-made barriers

 

and how easy it would be

to slip under them all

and come back to you

 

I don’t think you’d object

would you?

 

Then I come home

where I grew up

and reacquaint myself

with the rest of my things

 

Remembering the load of washing on the stairs

the types of tea in the cupboard

the shape and size of my bed

how chocolate tastes different here

than it does with you

 

I think it has to do with

the way it melts

do you think so too?

 

Perhaps the most painful part of the process

is the slow

creeping realisation

 

That I cannot make your coffee

I can’t watch you do your hair

I can’t call down to you from the top of the stairs

I can’t scold you for leaving your clothes everywhere

 

How am I doing? Did I leave anything out?

 

Missing you

is a thing that happens to me

Missing you

is on a continuum

a sliding bar

of pangs

and aches

and half-formed wishes

 

But you know all of this already, don’t you?

 

I was wrong, by the way.

 

The most painful part of the process

is that I can feel you

missing me

too.

 

I Believed That

“I am a feminist”

you say

to your friends

to your family

 

 

and I believed that,

once upon a time.

 

But

over coffee

my hands still wrapped around

the empty cup

 

I hear the words of the women in your life.

Through their mouths I’ve heard you say

“But what about my needs?”

“But what about me?”

“I’m so lonely, you barely touch me anymore.”

 

and, my hands still around my coffee cup

I watch the girl (a friend) across from me,

the girl who used to be your girl,

float away, getting further and further away

from the sound of her own voice

and how they wrap around those words

heavy, weighted words

left unsaid

expectations

and obligations

 

 

 

Do you remember,

one day, I was telling you about

my wife, and our long-distance relationship

and you said

 

 

How do you do it?

I mean

I couldn’t do it

I mean

going without sex

I mean

 

 

and I ask you

if you know what it feels like

to float above your body and

have to watch

while someone touches you

when you don’t really want them to?

 

and I ask you

if you know what it feels like

when someone calls you

and accuses you

of not loving them enough

because you didn’t feel like going all the way

the other day

 

“I am a feminist”

you say

to your friends

to your family

 

and I believed that,

once upon a time.

 

But now

I see you

for what you are

the word behind my eyelids

clear when I blink

 

I see you are

p r o b l e m a t i c

 

Tiny Cabin

 

I love our tiny cabin

nestled by the lake

an hour out of town

 

with its floral wallpaper

with pink and yellow petals

and little green leaves

 

with its oily water from a well

and paint peeling

from its sodden eaves

 

I love the way the grass feels under my feet

and the way the birds move through the bulrushes

and the scrape of the canoe as it first hits the water, shells sinking deeper

 

I love the matching china

I love the handmade quilts

I love the sound and smell of its darkness

when I’m falling asleep

 

I love the key under the step

I love the sticky doors

I love the feeling of being alone out there

being with myself

a long, sweet conversation

uninterrupted

 

But I’m not alone

 

Did you know

the cabin

is full of spiders?