I have reached inside my soul
and found that I am lined in gold.
It fills the cracks and fissures,
the erosion of my tears through troubled years.
It formed in veins, snaking over heart and mind
steeling them against the harsher times.
And my value cannot be seen by prying eyes
I’ve hidden away what makes it a prize.
It’s yours to take, yours to see
because you’ve always only seen the best in me.
Slats of sunlight dapple
the edges of my memories
twirling in the kitchen
laying sideways in our bed
blinding our view of the television
where we curled up each evening
the warming Spring days meant open
strolls across the railroad tracks
during lengthening evening twilight
holding hands, our breaths
as we wait for separation
a year long pacing back and forth
slowly becoming numb
with every creeping day.
When I lost my grandfather over five years ago I felt like I had lost my best friend. To a little girl whose father had abandoned her, my grandfather was everything. He and my grandmother took my fleeing mother and us three fatherless babies into their arms without question and I as the youngest and weakest took to my grandfather’s quiet masculine kindness the most. I adored him. I followed him everywhere. I copied what he did. We ate cornbread and milk on the front porch on warm, humid summer evenings. We listened to whippoorwills hearken the coming summer days. He slipped dollars into my palms whenever I asked and often when I hadn’t. From diapers to college he did these things. Until he no longer could.
The years after he died I felt lost. In body, mind, and soul. I had looked up to him and respected him so much. You can’t lose somebody you loved and just go back to living like you did before. I didn’t know how to live my life anymore.
Then I met you. Like my grandfather you emitted an attitude of candor, generosity, and innate wisdom. You had an easy sense of humor and a ready smile for anyone. You jumped at friendships, regardless of the risk of free fall. You befriended me though I was nearly a shell of a person. Then a funny thing happened. We fell in love. Quickly, then everyday since. I was broken but you took the time to see I could be repaired, put back together with the golden adhesion of your patience, laughter, and gentle reminders that I mattered to the world.
I would not have survived not meeting you. You pieced the puzzle of my heart back together, and added a greater complexity of happiness and self-worth than had been there before. You understood my brokenness, the loss I had experienced, and respected the influence of my grandfather on my life by asking for my hand in marriage on a hike to visit his final resting place, a mountaintop he had frequented, taking long breaks to absorb the magnificence of the vista. A place where he had passed on a love of nature to his children and grandchildren, a respect for the history of our family, the silent nobility of mourning the loss of his loved ones. Where the gods of the Appalachian Mountains had welcomed his soul into their guardianship.
You understand all this about me and more than I probably even know about myself. Every single day I thank the stars, God, the gods, the divine uncertainty of Chaos that I skipped work that day and found the love of my life.
Once again a whole human being,
A Soldier’s Wife
How could we have known when we shared shy glances all those years ago that we would build this life together? You were dressed in your uniform on a swelteringly humid and damp day patrolling the tents at the county fair. I wore a strappy long dress with bright colors and my hair was wild with the static and moisture of the September heat and playing hooky from my part-time cashier job that I held between my undergrad and grad years, in town for a much needed break from the monotony of retail.
I don’t think either of us was looking for love that day. Our hometown was probably the last place we expected to find it anyway. We had both had our first loves and broken hearts. We were in relationship limbo. Seeing you tripped me up. We broke all the rules from that moment on.
From a movie date that wasn’t a date, to hazy tequila flavored kisses, and a sunset on a mountaintop, our love story blossomed as quickly and as beautifully as Easter flowers. I was told to expect it to end, that relationships like ours were doomed to fizzle out. That the shiny would tarnish and the world would tint black again. But 3 1/2 years later and I fall in love with you more and more everyday. I don’t know how my heart creates room for our love to grow but by and by new seeds are sown and the garden of our devotion bears new buds each and every time I visit it.
We have found Paradise in each other’s soul.
A Soldier’s Wife
Little baby girl slumbering away
You’ve had your milk and a time to play
And though it’s early you’ve had a long day.
Little baby girl with lashes curled on your cheek
And lips pursed out like you long to speak
But long slow breaths mark a deep sleep.
Little baby girl with arms flung to the sides
As though you dream of a longing to fly
Or catching the power of the ocean tides.
Little baby girl let me dream with you
Of your future bright and with hope imbued
And a longing to live and share love too.