An Ode to Roots in a Clay Pipe

The wide world of your dreams. The strange things
that happen in your sleep.
The way your heart beats and heat throbs where it shouldn’t
in daylight.
And the cry: what does it all mean?

In some ways, I remember him like yesterday.
In other ways, I cannot conjure
his face, his smile, mouth, lips, hands, walk…
all the best parts of him.

I think it’s because I sent him away.

It’s nature’s cruel trick—making you forget—as punishment
for the breaking of a heart.
But sometimes I think
it’s my heart that was broken.
It must be, for the procession of dreams that come
when I am most at peace,
and then the days of wondering, the moments
lost in memory afterward.

He is gone. Married, children…all the usual things.
And I have been gone even longer, looking
going after “mine,” whatever “mine” was. Now,
when I scramble for just the right words,
I think it’s because they are stuck, lodged
like roots in a clay pipe,
too entwined from the years
to be pulled from their safe
Life flows by and around, but they are there
all the same.

Many days I have been happy. Many days of contentment
and even bliss.
Many loves have passed leaving their marks, or
stayed as it has now, overflowing.
But none has been
so insistent, so sure
so gone as mine for him.

When he said, “I have always been
in love with you,” the universe righted
itself, a puzzle piece
slid into place
and shook the foundations of all time.

I don’t know what happened when I left
him, bereft.
I wasn’t listening.
I didn’t feel.
If foundations shook, I skipped over the ripples.
I don’t know what happened, but
something did. And so I cry, years later,
after days of wondering and memory:

What does it all mean?

3 thoughts on “An Ode to Roots in a Clay Pipe

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