[April 28]

This is a poem for the people who will never read it.
This is a poem for my once-best friend, lost now to time
and memory, and for her future fiance, who has taken the place
in her heart I never had. This is for my grandmother. This is for
the girl I saw once on a smoky patio and never
saw again. This is for the people I love who will never
know I love them, because they do not read my poetry,
and for the poets who will never know I love them,
because they do not know who I am. This is for the man
on the 6:30 bus to Dallas who gave up his seat
so I could sit next to his girlfriend and feel safe. This
is for my freshman lab T.A., for the friends we’ve lost
too soon, for the girl who stood in front of me
at the checkout line when I was ten, her skin yellow
and waxy, her eyes dark with fear. Mostly this is for
you. Really this is a poem for all the things
I do not know about you, all the things I never will.

This is for the person who taught you to sing,
for the priest who baptized you on what I imagine was
a perfect day in late February.
This is for whomever hurt you so deeply you still have the scars.
This is your poem, and among the billions of people
who will never read a single word I write, I hope that you alone
will find them anyway, tucked into your napkin at lunch,
rising with your breath into the night air, pooled at the bottom
of the driveway. I hope you will collide with the syllables of this poem,
the faintest vibrations of air, and for a second or two
feel happy again, and loved. This is for the person who will never read it.
This is a poem for you.

To Have Lost ([April 6])

I used to pray at night that I wouldn’t
fall in love. To give in to love takes strength.
To reach out to someone’s shoulder requires grace.
And so much has been written about falling in love,
so many movies have been made, that you’d think
more would have been said about what happens
when you have to leave. When relationships end,
fall back, leave wing-prints as they brush
the ground. There will always be a last time.
A last kiss. A last cup of coffee. A last time
you touch their forehead while they are sleeping
and see the smallestĀ of smiles in return. The sunlight
hits the pine trees, slides up the mountain
again and again, and slowly time crumbles,
love does not remain.

I saw all this, only faintly, and was afraid,
because life is not simple, no equation I ever learned
could tell me what to do. In the end there is only
the hope that what you are doing is right,
or will be right some day in the future. I saw this
and did not want to let go. This morning,
I realized that love is nothing that can be stopped,
and even though one day the words will change from
I am loved to I was loved once,
I will still hold my breath on snowy mornings,
I will sit straighter when I travel. The world
still spins, rocketing its way through the universe,
and I know now that it is not love that drives it forward,
but trust, trust and remembering.