Posts Tagged ‘intimacy’


Once I crossed a hanging bridge.

where the planks were missing,

I could see muddy water roiling below—

and the planks that were present

were rotten. That’s the nature

of bridges. Eventually, they fall apart.

Like this one between you and me.

And the nature of love? To rebuild.

And when that fails, because

even the best tools don’t work well

in unskilled hands, that’s the time

to know when to quit trying to fix,

to jump in the swells and swim.

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A piano is just

some wood and strings

until it’s touched—

and then it sings.

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Once Upon

Only a moment, I thought,
just a moment of pulling your breath

into mine would buoy me
through whole oceans of days,

days I would otherwise drown in
save for a single shared moment.

But here I am, beneath the surface,
near out of air, gasping, longing for

hours, no, days, no, whole epochs of closeness
with no sense of starting or ending.

How soon a woman wants more.
I try to fill my pockets with things

that float—the clean scent of spring
and the song of whatever bird that is

outside the window. I try to find
my own lightness I have found before.

I tell myself, this is only a story,
as I sink further down, as the blue deepens.

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What Doesn’t Change

The wind
transfers sand
and the breeze
snatches kites
and the squalls
displace leaves
and the gusts
topple signs,
and forever
yes, even
after I’m dust,
your breath
into mine.

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One Beat

it off.
The hat.
The jeans.
The shoes.
The shirt.
The missing
Take off
the watch.
Let down
the hair.
the public
the eyes.
Let slip
the beaded
of shoulds,
the tired
of worry.
of shame
that still
thin gloss
of why,
lose them.
now my
love, please
touch me
we put
it all

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In less than a minute
the citadel
around the heart
is reduced to sand,
not by the wrecking ball,
not dynamite,
but with the softest voice
speaking the painful truth
of how sad, how broken we are.
In that unlocked moment,
even the air is naked.
It is impossible to imagine
that anything ever came between us,
or that anything ever will again.
But it does come back,
doesn’t it, that thick gray wall.
Sometimes thicker
or taller than before.
Birds come to roost there.
Ivy grows up the face.
Who knows who scrawls
all that graffiti on both sides.
And then, in an instant,
it’s gone again. Nothing but dust.
With the softest voice.
The painful gift. It’s
so messy, so beautiful,
how broken we are.

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In the middle of the night
mom finds me still awake
and makes us tea. We stand

in her bright kitchen and cradle
our steaming cups. How
the hands like something to do,

even at this quiet hour.
We talk through the scent
of licorice root and chamomile,

we talk with no phones or children,
chores or appointments to interrupt.
She is older than I think she is.

When I’m not with her, I see her
as the mother of my childhood,
her hair not yet gray, her spine

not yet bent. She is lovelier
than I think she is. I don’t
think of my mother as beautiful,

only as my mom. But here,
in this wrinkle of early hours,
she radiates, even as her chin

begins to quiver, even as she bites
her lower lip to stay the tears,
even as her tears miss the steeping tea,

she is radiant. Even as she collapses
her shoulders and laments little things
she can no longer do, she glows,

and I see her not only as my mother,
more fragile than I like to think,
but as someone so full of light, someone

I so very much want to know.

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I had a dream I could fly. –Priscilla Ahn

The Blue Angels leave five white tracks overhead.
They are going eight hundred miles per hour,
the announcer says. Below them, I am going

nowhere. They fly closer to each other than my knees
are to the pier. Eighteen inches apart. What to make
of these details. The announcer spills them

through the radio like my brother’s dog
spills the half empty beer beneath the lawn chair.
It seems important, noteworthy, but later,

these points will not touch me the way your hands would.
It is more something to nod at, to say back and forth
to each other, to marvel at aloud. As if it could

bring us closer together, this trading of numbers
and shaking of heads. But the day is warm
and the body can’t help but tremble when the jets push

through the blue above us, displacing sound
and rearranging the air. It is not the speed
that impresses me or even the nearness

of wingtip to nose, but the way that over two million
of us have gathered to watch them fly
in close triangles and peel apart again.

How we long for greatness, how we’re drawn
to the fastest, the loudest, the best. How we long
to come together, to connect. I am not

the best, love. I am tired, getting old. I am
wrinkled and sun-speckled, forgetful and soft.
I am no longer fast, was never the fastest.

I am not strong. I’m defeated. I’m less.
But I am open to love, to being still.
I am ready to drop the stream of facts

and touch (is it possible) what is left.

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with one hand
I wave for you
to see me
with the other
I retie my mask

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Forever? That’s quite
a promise, but can you
love me now?


On my lips
too many rising kisses
left to dangle


Reaching for your hand
to touch
what doesn’t speak

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