months of letters mid-air before I knew her face, many more weeks before I could look at it directly one middle finger tracing the back of a middle knuckle a meditation an introduction to touch if you listen past breath, you can hear the sound a woman’s skin makes on another’s skin: a prayer a welcome the luminescence of oil: how she makes a body shine even in its earthness (still, sometimes, I fear she’ll turn or return to ivy) how I hold back my breath, my pulse, the full weight of my mouth, so she knows my reverence and desire in perfect balance This is a poem in moments kind and cautious: each deliberation a devotion, every exploration a sanctity we cannot bear to reduce to romance
with a line by Regina Spektor
I stand outside a New Orleans coffeeshop in an Indiana town, my face all summer sun, having just decided I will let my lover love his wife. This is how I remember romance: a rubber band. The longing in its pull, the welt left by its snap. I left soulmate on a curb outside an abandoned gas station, fate and destiny its burned-out neon signs. I tucked god in a bright white nativity and walked away. I know there's no such thing as mine. But reverence. Abandon. This hulking, dramatic beast, roaring against its harness, my hands raw from the leash. I know there's no such thing as mine. Still I seek a yard where it is safe for him to play.
I keep trying to remove myself from love, extract ego like a mass, irradiate adoration to wither any lingering whiff of self so I can see it clearly—what is facet, what is fragment. I wore white shoes to my confirmation and now I hold everything to that standard of purity. I want love so clean that when I put my self back into it, I can forego fear. Peel off every edge of need. Find love a fencepost, its root so deep and concrete I could never bend it to my aching will. If I could anoint your feet with oil, would you find me right after the resurrection? Would you love me like a fencepost, manmade and immobile? In all my mythology, there are only two loves: selfish and selfless. Both have fractured me.
Now sewing brings the pain back, eases it. It reveals holes in my– Stephanie Sauer, Almonds are Members of the Peach Family
When I first loved, there were no holes, save for myself. I gave everything, kept nothing, a firehose emptying every well. I was the hole, and I wore it well.
When I noticed the whole of my emptiness and its longing, I found another firehose, and we collapsed together every night, soaked and wholly hollow.
I called this life without holes.
(It was not.)
There is no avoiding holes. I am a mess of holes, so there is a mess of holes in my loving.
I learned to love people who see my holes and see me through their own. The stinging bliss of love is seeing yourself through someone else’s holes—that is to say, an accounting of every lack, a negotiation of our respective failures.
I want to love both others and myself wholly and with minimal failing, so this accounting is a thorny gift we open tenderly together.
Loving reveals holes in my own loving. I cannot fill them. In my wholeness, I move them somewhere safer, and hold them somewhat gentler.