This is your heart beat.
A slow steady rhythm marked by flickering white light.
This is the pulse of life.
An erratic fast then slow but pushing on relentlessly.
In the rush of everything, everyone, and everywhere I need to be,
I listen for the thumping in your chest
That sets my steps
And Moves me on despite the setbacks and lacking self-confidence.
I listen for the next beat with bated breath.
Keep beating though the journey is long.
Keep beating though the slog is hard.
Keep beating to guide me where I can hold you in my arms
and become the one who leads you beyond.
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.
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.
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.
You told me in the middle of an argument just before you deployed that you would forgive me for cheating on you. That statement shocked me because I wasn’t sure I could return the sentiment. For the longest time I told myself I could never be with somebody who would cheat on me. I would never be able to push the treachery from my mind. I respected myself far too much to stay.
I can say now that I would stay with you through far worse if you still wanted me.
I cannot envision a future where you exist in the world without me by your side. I love you. Through every bad day, every mistake we may make, every slump. I have carefully considered this since you told me and I can finally say I would forgive you. If in this distance and loneliness you experienced a moment of weakness I could not fault you for finding comfort where you can. And if you still had love for me and our family in your heart I could move past my pain and sense of betrayal with time. I love you too much to pay much attention to what others may think or believe is right. They may not understand. But you and I share something the world does not have to comprehend.
This is not to say I believe you ever will cheat on me or to give myself some kind of pass to cheat on you and point back to this for mercy. For you, my forgiveness would know few boundaries because you extended me the same when I could not reciprocate. I just wanted you to know.
A Soldier’s Wife
Letters are a dim replacement of your genial charms
Or those brief phone calls interrupted by faulty technology.
Vaulted emotions hang on the anticipation of unspoken apology
Even now we brush off anything that could cause alarm.
Honesty a priority in our day to day communications
Our voices yet are smothered with anticipation
Not of that distant day of homecoming
Or an elusive idea of civilian vacation
Rather of a dream of some more simple summoning.
Sweet husband, I made a promise I intend to keep
As I believe that the vows we spoke are infinity bound
Crossing this threshold of duty I am in too deep
Rooted in the reverberations of your voice’s sound
I ignore the warning screams of others as I take this leap
Finding that with your help I will land on solid ground
I surrender to the universe’s design of our lives intertwined
Casting around for your hand to grasp as together we take a stand
Ever to live as husband and wife in this crazy military life.
i don’t see heroism inherent in the dapple of your camo
i don’t fall at the altar of ares indiscriminately
i adhered to a pacifist belief in discourse and debate up to now
i detest the blindly patriotic vision of the star spangled devotee
a hero to me had always been an elusively romantic idea
unrecognizable in the common man as i saw them
an act of heroism an impossibly inhuman defying of natural law
until i saw you pick up your bag and put on that bulletproof diadem
out of the depths of complexity of duty to country and commander
out of obligation to provide for wife and child
and a tendency towards charity and unflinching candor
you silently took up arms and joined the rank and file
in your sacrifice you became my hero
as i know that sacrifice was rooted in love for her and i
a desire to prove yourself a provider a sanctified nero
without the vice and all the comforts to be quantified
with upright piety i have never seen in a soul
and unvoiced pain which lends itself to battered strength
you ventured alone into a combative world dividing my whole
heart carved into a token of luck of magnetism of guidance down that path
a salute to a hero by any other name
as that which he would never claim
And I whisper into the encircled totem that binds us
a tenuous thread of darkness and light unbalanced apart
“I miss you, I miss you,”but it seems superfluous.
And I seek to find faith in what I don’t understand
and ignore the selfish whispering flames of my heart
though it burns my chest like an iron brand.
And I pray to a god who does not love me
though I begged him while swollen with your child
to not steal you away as I cowered on my knees.
And I covet the touch, the graze of a hand on cheek
of people passing by me unknowingly
because I have known the thrill that is piqued.
And I cry at the space between our hands
because I can never reach far enough
to bridge the distance between lands.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and you never left my mind. But to be fair it is a rare day when I can manage to distract myself enough not to think about you, to remember you, to miss you, to dream of the day you come home and our life together resumes. Your words were so beautiful, more beautiful than a hundred roses. I nearly cried reading them while I sat at the circulation desk, pretending that my life was as normal as anyone else’s.
I have these moments between the drudgery of the incessant passing of time, moments of clarity where I realize that we are going through something major and life changing and neither one of us can come out on the other side the same. I know what you are doing is important and you are providing for your family the best way you have found. I can never thank you enough for being so brave, so dependable, so very, very good to me and Baby. It is unfortunately a rare man who would make such sacrifices to care for loved ones.
I believe our children will be better people for us having gone through this. We can teach them sacrifice, love in truth, what it means to cherish and appreciate what we have, to embrace moments while they are in them. I will never take for granted the small moments we share together ever again.
The days are passing. I am assured of that at least. Some faster than I thought they would. I have settled into my routine though Baby likes to switch that up from time to time. We get through, I didn’t think I could honestly, but I have found a way to care for her and myself (most days). I’m not saying the dishes get washed every evening or the tub gets scrubbed as clean as you like but we live almost as decently as before you left. There is still laughter in our home, your daughter makes sure of that. She brings me the greatest joy and I adore you for agreeing that we shouldn’t wait to start our family until you came home. She creates my inner strength and motivates me to push when I want to crash.
I tell you this because I think it is important you know we are okay even with you thousands of miles away. If something were to ever happen to you for you to know we are capable. I will care for your daughter no matter what and give her the very best life but we still desperately await your return home to complete our family.
Until then the days count down, the clock unwinds, I sigh a breath of relief because each day without you is one more day done, gone, in our past, and one day closer to the thousands upon thousands we will spend together.
I love you. Infidimensionally. Until tomorrow, my love.
A Soldier’s Wife