Wish

All eyes are on

The bride walking down the aisle

My eyes are

On you.

 

I am here

Holding my breath

At your wedding

Just one of the boys

Tearing up like a girl.

 

I am here

To witness your bliss

To wish you well

To watch my childhood dream

Be crushed by

The flight of doves,

The throwing of rice

The clink of glass

“You may kiss the bride…”

 

My chest implodes

And it feels like

A stupid corset is the only thing

Holding me intact

But I will manage a smile

When you have your photo taken at our table

One arm casually slung across my shoulder

Your playground pal

Your devoted shadow

 

I wish you well

I wish you well

I wish you well

I can do this

And as I finally say it out loud

I wish you all the best—

Your bride is already turning

To the next guest

But you,

You are still smiling at me

Drawing me close

Planting a kiss

on my forehead

In that oblivious,

tender way

 

I come undone.

Paper Cuts

I hoped you wouldn’t notice

The telltale finger gashes

The hours I spent

Learning how to make

A simple paper crane

I hoped it looked effortless

As I reshaped the letter

you kept reading, and rereading

All week.

By now, I knew the routine:

Five o’clock, park swings.

You would unfold the missive,

Read it out to me

Ask if you missed anything,

Any clue,

Why she left

And once again,

I would shake my head

Wishing there was something

I could do

To ease your pain.

Today, when you asked

What the hell she meant

I took the offending letter

from your hands

I folded, and aligned,

And folded again

Till her razor-sharp words

disappeared

Into wings

(What I really wanted to do

Was tear up the letter

Into tiny pieces

and assemble them into

a thousand cranes

so you could make

a wish;

But I knew

I would never be forgiven)

With a silent bow

I tucked the bird

in your hands

Only for you to promptly unfold my art

back into the shape

of your grief.

But that’s ok;

See you again tomorrow,

Five o’clock,

Swings.

Humpty Dumpty

Talking to you

Is like walking on eggshells

I feel like my voice is going to break

Any minute

Betraying the cracks in my resolve

Why do you unnerve me

Why do you tap against my skin,

Like I am hard-boiled

When you know

My center is all soft

And runny, still

There’s only the fragile shell

To hold me in

Hello, How are you, How long have you been back?

Tap, tap, tap

My heart swells within

If it shatters

Who will put me back together again?

So here we go

Hello, walk away

Rinse, and repeat

I refuse to end up

Like the million other girls

Lying broken,

puddling at your feet.

Scent of a Boy

A sudden gust of wind;

A familiar scent

Transports me back in time

The school library is lined

With volumes of my need

Dusty shelves through which I peek

At you in your corner

Infuriatingly industrious

Never looking up

Not even when I take the seat behind

So close,

I inhale your father’s aftershave

In the air

My hammering heart is calling

Out to you

But no one seems to hear

Except the librarian

Shushing me with a finger to her lips

At soccer practice

I walk by

You glance up,

Waving your hi

And I wave back

With my breath

Caught in my throat.

And for the rest of the day

Month

Year

The magical moment

Is replayed

In my head

Dissected for any sign

You feel the same way.

Oh, the hope!

The bittersweet agony

Each time we pass each other

In the halls

Each time you smile, just at me

Yet you don’t call

You never called.

*            *            *            *            *

Today, I can breathe in

The familiar scent

Without feeling that familiar ache

In my gut.

The gust of wind has passed

—thank God I survived

My teenage crush—

Life goes on.