We spoke for 62 minutes today.
We spoke while I cruised through a McDonald’s Drive-thru.
We spoke as I checked the tire pressure on my car
And complained about the sensor light coming on again.
We spoke as I ate, long pauses as I chewed.
We spoke as I perused the news.
In 62 minutes today we had to condense 24 hours of our marriage.
It was not enough.
To be intimate.
To describe our day.
To explain what needs to be done.
To discuss our child.
To exalt over her achievements.
It can never be enough.
In 62 minutes every day for the past 300 days.
How do we stay in touch?
And thousands of texts that simply say
I love you
Wait for me.
Baby, we were fire
Engulfed in each other’s sight
The tendrils of your flame
Set my soul alight.
Brittle, broken tinder
Littered my insides
A spark from you, a cinder,
caused me to ignite.
The friction building in whispers
In the velvet of deep twilight
Erupted, spewing embers,
Molten lava, melting frigid night.
Did you feel the burning?
Did it scald and scar your skin?
Can you see the marks of yearning,
the brands you left behind?
Baby, we were an inferno,
enveloping and blinding.
How did we survive it?
He is to me the foam upon my sea
Billowing up from my depths to ride on waves
Stretching towards the beachy barriers
Pulling back to chase horizons.
He has become as flesh to my bone
Gripped by ligament, sinew, muscle
All sewn together with veins
Destruction of part forever marring the whole.
To separate us would mean to rend my soul
To divide my life’s blood from my lungs
My heart from my tongue
Told to thrive within a shriven corpse.
Physiologically whole but dissected
All the same.
Poseidon in his watery prison has loved Selene from afar, turning his tides to draw her gaze upon him.
And Selene hung upon the velvet canvas of night unable to sink into the salty waves from her lofty height blinks slowly with regret, filling her vision with the peaked foam depths.
I love you like the ocean loves the moon, the sight of her in the night sky roiling the ocean into tidal frenzies.
I love you with the eternal pattern of nature, unwavering and confident in the reassurance of return.
I love you with the eternal intent of gods and the immortal imperviousness of our souls.
I love you as I have always and will always love you, in lives since passed and lives to come, and in that space of afterlife, our Heaven ensnared in each other’s eyes.
And long before the goddess took up residence beside the empty cratered lake to stand guard over far off blue green seas and long after those seas have ebbed eternally too heavy and ancient with geological burden I have, I will, love you.
When the gray mornings of a humid, drizzly day cause my hair to frizz and fray.
When my tears leech through my mascara darkened eyelashes in black rivulets down my cheeks.
Before I wash the night’s sleep from my face .
Standing under the harsh truthfulness of white fluorescent lights.
When the stress of the day bows his shoulders down like Atlas.
When the night is dark and the moon has shut its eye to steal the little light it gives.
When I dressed all in white and took his hands for life.
When he wiped the sweat from my brow with the edge of my ugly hospital gown.
When my nose is red and I can’t stop coughing and fever blurs my eyes.
When his voice cuts in and out from the strain of transmitting from thousands of miles away.
When he hasn’t even seen my face for several weeks on end.
My love tells me I am beautiful even when I don’t deserve it.
My love tells me I am beautiful and I am starting to believe him.
Because when he tells me I am beautiful it isn’t what he’s seeing, my love tells me I am beautiful because of what he’s feeling.
You have never read a love letter until you have read one sent home to a soldier’s lover
And if you are not that soldier or his lover it is unlikely you will ever
Until their lives have waned and their years have been spent
And the pain of that distance has faded to a wistful reminisce.
You have never read a letter filled with so much palpable longing
And an honesty so profound it bleeds onto your fingers like spilled ink
And capped with a sign off of resignation and the literary equivalent of a sigh
As he hurries through the hastily scrawled pages to not say goodbye.
I love my soldier. I will treasure his hand written letters all the days of my life.
A soldier’s Wife
How could we have known this love would be a source of both pain and ecstasy when you caught my eye under the dingy white tarp of that festival tent and the electricity of a coming storm danced under our skin?
That separation was inevitable and the string of fate would span an ocean, stretched as thin as a spider’s webbing, cutting into the flesh of our hearts where it knotted all those days ago when I looked back at you and knew life would never be the same?
How could I have known I would be so lucky as to possess a love that would cause such longing in the dark expanse of lonely nights?
How could I have known the blessing of the pain of missing you far outweighs the numbness of never having known you?
How could I have known that a deployment would make me love you even more than I ever dreamed a soul could love, deeper than the unknown depths of the ocean floor, longer than the infinity of this universe?
I hope that love finds our daughter like it found me. That the stars align to find her soulmate has been there the whole time. Waiting. Waiting for the moment when everything is right, when the complications of her life have resolved to the point of sustained happiness.
I hope that love whispers softly into her dreams like the scent of a garden wafting on lofty breezes trampezing through sun baked air.
I hope that love finds her with kindness, seeking to elevate her, hold her up to find she is worth more than she believed herself to be. That violence is blinded by the glare of a gentle soul seeking in her the self same care.
I hope that love finds her through the heart of a loving partner who holds her hand each time it nears their own. Who says, “I’m sorry,” regardless of who was wrong. Who nurses no ill will even to those who’ve done them harm.
I hope she finds somebody like you.
We have made it 100 days into this deployment. I feel the size of that time as well as it’s insignificance on the scope of the timeline of our life together.
Still I feel it in the loss of your smell in a T-Shirt you left on the floor from the night before. I feel it in the small rearrangements of our kitchen to accommodate my own needs rather than ours. I feel it in the contents of our fridge filled with foods of which you disapprove.
I feel it in the constant stretch of my heart as it pants to hold on to our love, our marriage, the intimacy of our conversations. I feel it in the grains of sand drifting from between my clasped fists as I try to hold on to this time with our daughter yet quickly get to that still too distant day of homecoming.
I fill it in the inches she has grown since you could cradle her in one arm, cup her head in one hand. I feel it in the grasp of her mind as she becomes more and more aware there is a world surrounding her.
I have survived 100 days without your nearness. I told you I would wait for you. 100 days, 1000, an eternity. Perhaps this is my Atlas moment but it is a weight I willingly bear for the promise however far of holding you within my arms again.
Here’s to 100 more.
A Soldier’s Wife
In all the world I do not believe a woman could love you as I do.
She couldn’t see all the amazing things that I see even if she tried to.
But if anyone else were to love you
Here are the things I’d hope she knew.
The way your life shines through your eyes, how I knew you were kind.
The uniqueness of the clever workings of your mind
When we debate back and forth when our views don’t align
And the way you could let me be myself with you and unwind.
The strength of your heart as you carry the weight of the worries of the ones you love
The constant assurance you give us as you perform any task we think of
And the way you ask for nothing in return from us or from above
Taking on cares that would break the wills of some.
The timbre of your laughter when you are genuinely happy
And how it carries on the wind to mingle with the spirits freely
How it captures everyone in its swath making somebodies of perceived nobodies
It’s vibrations resonating under your skin with subtle sensuality.
And the gentle pressure of your hands as they traced the lines of my body
Delving past the barriers I had erected so carefully
Of my emotions, my ability to relate, not just my physicality
You unlocked so much more when you moved that night to kiss me.
I hope she’d know how deeply you deserve to be loved by anyone
That if she cannot commit to a lifetime of holding you in the sun
She does not deserve you, she has no right to leave you undone
Because of all the men in the world you most deserve to be truly loved.