I kiss the small of her back and breathe in deep. Time stops. Or it starts moving again for the first time in a long while. It's always hard to tell. I take the moment to consciously think of Debra, to build the shape of her in my mind.(more) This is how I do it, I tell myself. This is how I manage.
Time starts again, or it slows back down. I throw her on the bed, like I'm playing fetch with myself. I let the shape of Jenna on the bed distract me from the shape of Debra in my mind. I push her against the mattress like I'm the tracing paper, and she's the thing I need another of. If I do it right, I can store her shape inside me somewhere. Maybe I can.
She breathes out. I breathe in. I haven't had a sip to drink tonight, because I want to remember all of tonight. I'm going to need tonight for tomorrow, and all of the tomorrows after that.
She's different enough that this doesn't feel like cheating. This isn't cheating. Just like I said, this is how I do it. This is how I manage. This is how six months becomes five-years becomes twenty-five. This is how starter-marriages become retired couples on porch swings. This is how I am faithful. Forever, but not always.(less)
Like a shrine you have built for yourself alone in your room. Like I solemnly swear that all this is a lie. Like really and truly. Like begonias and dried grass and the burnt wicks of candles that were put there in the first place to make it feel like an entirely(more) different season. Like all of the voices together in an auditorium, once a year and only once a year, every year, praying the prayers that have brought them home or sent them away, depending on who you ask. Like the persistent impulse to push your own heavy body out of bed and into the glaring sunlight of every new morning, against the begging and shouting and reasoning inside of your equally heavy head. Like a summer in Atlantic City, maybe nine years old, staring every day at the white swells of foam climbing and tumbling over each other before splattering against the brown muck of the shore, wondering how they keep climbing back up to do it all over again-- knowing nothing about the moon. Like how there was always a hot shower waiting when you got back into the house. Like kissing the spine of any book you drop, regardless of whose name is written inside. Like the tug in the back of your brain, persistent and unflinching, as you hold yourself tight in your own arms, and try to will yourself to sleep. Like every superhero is supposed to have a sidekick. Like every house is supposed to have a dog. Like standing in front of your family and friends, in some well-lit arbor, in someone's grandmother's dress, and swearing that you, every day of the rest of your life, will be the two people who beat all of the odds. Like constant and ever after.(less)
i try to keep it down
all those things i want to say
but they bubble
they rise and fizz
escaping before i'm ready
cartoon balloons spilling my secrets
(more) unable to grasp them,
i try to pull them back and change the order
out of chaos and confusion
you decipher me
it amazes me sometimes,
the way we keep coming back to this
assured and sated
again and again
we remain faithful in our unfaithfulness
there is a beautiful symmetry
to this see-saw we ride
and when we ride, we ride hard(less)