I think the path of loneliness is my destiny, she says,
a glissando rise from the more ordinary banter
that fills the car, chatter about dogs and farms
where they roam, love tucked behind the flop
of ears, beneath the long soft belly.
She keeps going, a stream, an overpass, every thought
carrying us further from the one that snagged me
and I want to say, “Wait, let’s rest here,” measure
the peace of acceptance, the surety
of knowing, though I am not so certain this
is where the story ends, hers or mine, though
I have inhabited aloneness, with lonely
too barren a place to hold me, too dim
an arc for what can fill the heart.
For days, the ghost of her pronouncement
— freighted, masked — trails me, a body
stitched with silence.
And I wonder whether this is bravery,
being with what is, or safety, a boundary
that leashes risk, refuses
what trembles or sparks.
I think of that dark animal, longing,
the way it waits, shadow in skin where want
is an ache that startles, slips
inside a rain-thick night, leaves its questions
heavy at the door.
I like the curl of them, the threat:
Get too close and the mystery
might unravel itself, scald
your raven mouth.
Skirt the sting, and forfeit
But maybe desire — rootless,
vast — needs the slow upwelling,
slack embrace — weeping shudder
of still here, still