Originally posted, 2010; revised, 2014; revised again 2019.
i called her wisteria.
in its short bloom.
thought of her as warm days
and cold nights in mud season
when grass blades
start their rise from the soil.
she was remarkable.
she left me, i was lost,
though it was a night
and a day and a night again
before i could cry
for her, a long numb sweep
of hours in succession.
i wept in the privacy of the bedroom
that was newly empty.
i emptied myself.
i cried more as the walls inside me melted
and i sweated them out.
i was paper thin afterward.
light passed through me
and from within i was lit.
this is grief, i said, and it is a cold wind.
this is unseasonable weather.
the flowers on the early vines shriveling.
this is her doing, i told myself.
i said, i have been illuminated by her.
because of her, i shine.
she was much more than my purpose.
so much more than i had ever thought to say of her,
sun of a distant unglimpsed sky over a world i hadn’t explored.
not only wisteria,
but forsythia; violets;
thistles, oaks, redwoods, fig vines.
she was the very bones of spring and beyond.
i cut her down with my small interpretation.
she was a sun i will not see again.
here in a twilight of weeping
i indulge the urge
to endlessly recreate the moment
when i lost my chance
to stop and listen to her
and let her expand within me
as i should have.
what a fool.
the moment of loss is deep weather,
a season of interruption
when the simplest answers go unnoticed.
i should have been motionless
i could have held her here,
or perhaps not. perhaps
it was because i thought of her as
wisteria, delicate and frail,
that when she heard me
she was gone.
i still shine with her still within me
but try as i might
i still light nothing beyond me.