A Poem About Hanging in There With the People We Love

I’m Still Here

Tonight I held your face,

studied it

like a designer dress

just before credit card

leaves sweaty hands.

Your eyes retreated,

changed tactics,

gushers held back

by whispered regrets:

“Everybody always leaves me,”

you said,

“Everybody always leaves.”

You, two in one,

My Darling,

a marvel,

stinging like curly hair

caught

in pulpy paper cut, yet

soothing

like oiled up tongues

lapping up icy crystals

of whipped cream crumbs.

Your retreat

makes me the monster,

bully with baseball bat,

beating, swinging

at airborne pollen.

So sullen I look,

hooked

into see-saw stock market

notions of endless love,

endless

like this moment

when I release

your face

so full of remorse,

housing voice

hoarse with

cavernous apologies,

creeping easily, unseemly,

unbelievably

back

into settled sands of

careful forgiveness,

loving annoyance,

knowing next time,

every time,

my kindness is might,

firmer than

circumstances

happy to suffocate it,

murmuring

Only true measure

of love’s great pleasure

is the number of

fibrous strands

wrapped

around tender core,

so much more material

than those passing whiffs

of ocean water which

sucked us in

so many months,

lifetimes, before.

“Everyone leaves me.”

Haunted groanings,

ghost-like specters

expelled by

vibrant new buildings

erected in hope,

and signed

“But I’m still here.”

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