I’m Sorry There’s a man, a friend, I decided long ago that I wouldn’t like because the way his dark, unkempt hair fell haphazardly above the rim of his glasses, decided that if I let him, he could almost be the person that I have feared in my sleep. Not as much anymore because I’m an adult now and can relocate my terror into separate little boxes of emotion as one learns to do with years of careful living and a really sweet therapist. Come to find out, this man, this friend, has learned a way to unhate himself, too, found a way to happiness by surrendering to the permanence of his trauma, found a way to forgive was and embrace is. He’s put light on his shame, named it. Said it aloud and opened himself to all the judgment and pity that comes with humiliation. Of victimization. And now I am here, regretting the times I didn’t want to inhale near him, for fear of smelling his cologne, recognizing the stench of secrets that might have been his; the times I wouldn’t see him as a whole, just as eyes I didn’t make contact with, the way his hands with one small gold band moved when he explained an act, a moment—for fear of watching his mouth, the smallness of his lips the stippled dark beard, the his way lies might fall so easily. Pampas Grass Remembers 1. the humid red of a thousand sunrises the sharp blue cold of a thousand midnights 2. bending to autumn clouds her sisters’ green sway at its whim 3. hands, splayed open against mossy plumes feathery seeds forfeited to the wind 4. secrets crept across brackish waters smelling faintly of envy 5. envy such envy, the waiting in her bones, the milky white need to lift up, lift up 6. in another life, love: the hard line of a salty current arcs in circles, in circles, in circles 7. arguments with an April afternoon squabbles soon forgiven 8. cashmere breath inhaling rogue feathers dust to dust 9. each sun-bleached remnant of pebble and shell perpetual living: 10. the quiet of days months with nothing but the sea to answer 11. a bend midrib though broken not enough to surrender When the Time Comes Lean in close; feel his chest rise and fall in its labored meter, close enough to tell him good boy, it’s okay, I’m right here Bury your face just above his collar but low, behind his ear in that soft hollow spot: breathe in, long and slow it’s okay, it’s okay remember this scent: pull it in deep: nose, mouth, lungs like waxy popcorn, tepid soil warm and oddly reassuring; be here, this and now: keep your eyes closed because the real kisses happen with your eyes closed it’s okay press your closed lips against him harder than you should so that he feels your words even if he can’t hear them. Clay Angel On Moving Day I adored her in her unwholeness even as winter cracked her open: lost wing, chipped nose, mossy palms the sentinel of a garden I sometimes ignored her broken wing hollowing the core of her empty vessel. Inside the dark curve of her belly a safe nesting for the bees that would emerge in the afternoon heat, atone to the insistent-yellow dandelions that claimed the long August yard. I left her behind with no foreseeable purpose giving her back one wing at a time. Odonata, Infraorder Anisoptera Last week I killed a dragonfly that’d made its way into the kitchen; perched itself flat and thin in the cabinet nook where I found a spider the month prior— its foil-black body and cellophane crisp of wings sporadically stilled as I nudged life with the tip of my shoe. I’ve inadvertently pushed the universe ajar, loosened its balance, of peaceful existence; so I’ve begun my penance of saving the thready spiders that finger-tip their way along the edge of the counter to the bananas, envelope-under-a-water-glass them to the hemlock just beyond the kitchen door with a whispered apology, righting some unintentional wrong. Soy and Ginger Salmon with Brown Rice Last night, as we moved about between the counters finding the give and take of the space he shifted left instead of moving right as I’d expected which made my hands filled with ruby radishes still wet from the faucet’s cold water, drip, and I knew right then why marriages sometimes fail. But this morning, before I even climbed the stairs to the sun-flooded kitchen, he’d poured strong hot coffee into my favored blue mug with an alchemist’s knowledge of the perfect dip of light cream and I knew right then why marriages sometimes work.
About the author:
Lorraine Henrie Lins serves as the Director of New and Emerging Poets with Tekpoet and is a founding member of the “No River Twice” poetry performance troupe. She is the author of five books of poetry, including the forthcoming Without the Water. Lins’ work appears in a wide variety of familiar publications and collections, as well as a small graffiti poster in New Zealand. For more information, please visit: www.LorraineHenrieLins.com