A Terrible Thing to Ask of Anyone [poem]

I wrote this poem on April 4th, 2019. It’s late May now. Today, I made the difficult decision to let go of someone that I love. For good. As indefinitely as I possible, though I struggle to imagine a future without them. But, now I have the clarity to know what is happening, and to know that love can’t cover everything in this realm. Sometimes, time and justice and other graces in life need to intervene and it is out of my individual control.

I thought I would have the chance to share it with the person I love but it never seemed like the right time. I didn’t want it to come off as dismissive if they didn’t resonate with the story that I share in this poem, if they aren’t there yet. I suppose I share it here now because it is my way of beginning this process of accepting that we need to not be in each other’s lives indefinitely. And I want my grief recognized. Finally, the poem:


A Terrible Thing to Ask of Anyone

There is so much work to do
There is so much joy ahead
Why waste time ruminating over the things we dread
When our wounds keep us in cold prisons?
Ram your head against mine
And I’ll strive to breathe slower this time,
I know better now.
We’ll take turns breathing slower than the other,
(even if 10-90, 80-20
we must take turns, one can’t save the other).
I will tremble because you see me
You tremble because we see us, too.
There is no love encounter without such trembling, human and hurt as we are.
We might want to believe that there is.
Our eyes flash-but also sparkle-at each other:
please, proceed with care.

Rilke told us about love’s landscape*
So we sow over and over again.
There is a spring after winter
And then winter comes
But then spring again and again.
There is work to do
There are wounds to heal, fires to put out
And joy ahead
Places to rest one’s head
however momentary
Warmer than yesterday’s prison.


*Reference to Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, “[again and again, even though we know love’s landscape]”.

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