Monday, April 26, 2010

It doesn't really sound like a love poem . . .

. . . but it's supposed to be. Three years ago today, Dick and I stood on a beach in Cabo San Lucas and pledged our undying love before a minister we didn't know, a nutty, but great photographer and two fisherman. It was the best day of my life. And I'm pretty certain it always will be.

Here's a little poem I wrote about what it's like to love someone so much that it's as scary as it is great.

Dress Rehearsal

One night--
years from now, I pray--
one of us will go to bed
without the other.

I remember asking a woman
who lost her husband what the hardest part was.
“Night time” she said.
“Nights are terrible.”

And I wonder,
what if
you leave
before I do?

I can’t help imagining
lying down on my side of the bed,
leaving room for you on your side
as though you could return.

I would stare,
waiting to see if an invisible you would sit down,
make the bed sigh under your familiar weight,
and then, corrugating the sheets, lay down beside me.

I would hold your pillow and inhale,
filling my lungs until it hurts,
then worry that I would use up
all that’s left of you.

I would lie awake and wait
until morning came
to nudge the living from sleep
so they can make coffee, read the paper,
get the kids ready for school.

Why do I do this to myself?
Why rehearse what will be
the hardest thing I must do
at what will be the loneliest point
I will face?

Because on the nights
I go to bed before you do,
when I draw the shade,
slide underneath the sheets,
pull up the white bedspread,
and run my fingers over its fraying stitches,
it seems wrong
to be alone.
Even though I know,
I’ll hear your footfall
on the stairs before to long.

And sometimes I remember what she said.

“Nights are terrible.”

Then I open a book
and read the same sentence again and again
with intention and still
I don’t know what it said.

So I give up and reach over
to the lamp on the nightstand
and I turn it

In the dark,
I weep
not for what I will lose--

but for what I am lucky enough
to have known.


  1. Very powerful....
    Sad but powerful.

  2. That's not merely a home run, that's a grand slam. I'm awestruck.

  3. Thanks, everybody. I don't know why my writing is always sad. I meant for the ending to lift you up out of the sad parts. mayhaps it is a work in progress. like me. Thanks for reading.

  4. thank god i didn't put my mascara on today.


  5. Happy Anniversary. What a gift to love someone so much.

  6. you guys are sweet to take the time to read and comment.

  7. hilarious anniversary card doesn't seem so great now (as he reaches for a Kleenex)

  8. That's just beautiful. Happy Anniversary.

  9. Ok, now I'm standing in my kitchen crying. . .you are so good at putting exactly the right words on a feeling.

  10. Wow. That's absolutely wonderful.
    (And the end does lift you up!)

  11. you guys are really nice to say all these things. thank you so SO much.
    i don't share my work very often, so it means more than you know that it was well received.

  12. the thing that makes your writing so incredible ( and there are so many)
    are lines like. . .
    Then I open a book
    and read the same sentence again and again
    with intention and still
    I don’t know what it said.

    I do that. I thought I was the only one.
    But now I know that you do that too.
    That makes me feel good.
    It's good to know that you, and he are together.
    It's one of the few things that really, really, really
    make me feel good.
    You belong together. Really.

  13. Renee, I'm sitting here crying at work!!!!
    Wow....what a stunning's more than that....WOW. gorgeous.

  14. Sarah, you are so kind to comment. i don't often share my poetry because i'm not very prolific and i didn't go to a fancy writing school.
    what i like to write most is something that will make someone think
    "i can picture that" or "i can imagine that" or "i can feel that." anyway, i'm really glad you like it! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  15. I do that same thing, too. I mean I think about it. I'm younger than my significant other. But the woman across the street was the younger partner and she passed away. You never know. That doesn't sound right as a comforting statement. But I think about that sometimes.

  16. I sent this to Scott. It is exactly how I feel.
    (It made me cry at work too.) Happy Anniversary to you and Dinks, two of my favorite people in the world and thanks for sharing.

  17. wow! thanks anonymous and allyson. i'm glad you liked the poem.
    really glad. i mostly don't feel like a poet because i'm surrounded by people who write circles around me. so it means a lot to me when my writing touches people. maybe i'll do some more sometime.

  18. you just brought teas in my eyes... great poem ney ney!!! You put in words what I don't know how to say. :)