I am waiting up for you, waiting like wood
for your heavy, particular stress on the stairs,
for the metal that fits your key
and the knob that knows
the exact turning warmth of your hand.
Here you are, still coming home to me,
to our bed, to the touch of this life,
red dawn breaking from gray clouds in the same
window each morning. You’ve been my life,
I admit, for as long as I can bear
to sit in the middle of this moment, waiting
for the smell of your wild black hair,
and your eyes, slippery, live brown coffee beans,
and your cheeks, cold from the fog
over the midnight bridge.
There was a time in the car when we fought
and screamed, and it poured deafening sheets of rain.
There was forgiveness, like sudden, unexpected quiet,
after which the rain starts up again, but more gently;
like all the stories from my childhood
that you learned by heart
so I could forget them
if I wanted to, so I could rest
a moment and feel the future
carry us along, swift current under our canoe.
The river was no dream.
I still remember showing you
the place where lady-slippers
hid themselves in the northern
woods, and how often you crossed
the slippery falls to bring me back
something I needed. There is that
to keep, and the rest to let go.
There was the long conversation
I thought would end differently.
There was the whole dream, unbroken in the water.
There is still the water, there is always the water.