i have this picture in my head
from a few years ago
just a few frames
just a snatch of maybe seven seconds
of you standing to greet me
from the table of some tiny thai restaurant
and the light from telegraph avenue fills your whole face
with the rising glow of late september
and it feels like
for a moment
the sun is rising all around us
i’ve been carrying around this story of you for eleven years.
turning my heart into a calcified crystal glass menagerie,
to have read tennessee williams 27 times only to finally get it now)
guarding it fearfully
too afraid to hold it up to the light anymore
lest anyone see it
lest any corner chip
lest it not shine as purely
as brightly as i’ve told myself it must
because otherwise eleven years is longer than i’ve ever believed in
anything else and what if i’d been believing in nothing all this time and what did that mean about
me to have believed in nothing more than this story all this time, nothing more except perhaps
the power of stories and the people who tell them well which is in fact maybe all
i’ve done here:
not loved you
but told myself a story into love
or told myself a story
that maybe i didn’t have that in me
the ability to love someone like that
and in time
maybe that just wasn’t something for me
that maybe i’ve kept this bruise of you fresh
for more than a decade
pressing on it
kept things soft for you here
you: the proof that i can feel something
even if it’s only hurt
that i have a heart that breaks
even if only on the side of you
i will survive this,
and i did.
and i do.
there’s nothing to say,
nothing to do
i say, the sand and the pearl at once.
you should just know that you’ve been loved.
and can’t manage to feel any shame despite my years of practice.
the glass menagerie is as beautiful as i’d always thought
but so much heavier in the dark than it is here in the open air
and the wild wind of late september in fort green park.
looking into your eyes
i can’t feel anything
but awe at the miracle
of both the ability to feel something so plainly true
and the freedom that comes with its exposure.
saying it aloud
the story was true
because stories usually are
my heart squeezes in my chest,
my breast bone swells to meet it.
was a gift
regardless of return
the gift itself,
is being able to
being inspired to
without any expectation of return
it’s waiting wood and sulfur all this time
for someone to strike you just the right way
to catch you at just the right moment
to spark what was there all along
somehow loving you
made loving myself
easy in the most uncomplicated way
i am still writing love poems to you
but they aren’t for you
they’re for me
we call it love
but this kind
i might as well call freedom
i love you for free
or whatever we call it
moves untethered in both directions,
even if it was only mine—and it’s so full of light, it feels
for just a few frames
for just a snatch of maybe seven seconds
like the sun is rising all around me.
Corey Ruzicano is a writer-educator from the san francisco bay area trying to make sense of this world through words. her writing can be found at howlround, stage & candor, the lark blog and wingless dreamer.
“it is absurd to look for a well, at random, in the immensity of the desert. but nevertheless we started walking.” le petit prince.