when you looked at him today

your feelings bonfire
the wet day the pain
in the neck throbbing
heart disease they call love
something warm and dry
surrounded by snow you become
accustomed to the shoulder
your cheek cups the sharp
edges of your lover’s profile
against a swollen snow sky
the storm coming on fast
you are afraid
of the spaces immediately
surrounding the act
of his leaving walking
towards the door hand
on the knob you turn
away what
does it mean
to love a little bit
more each day this gradual
building winter that won’t end
the pieces of your brain
imprinted in emotion
images smell voice becoming
each day more
a part of who
you are you are
him and he is
you a little bit
more each day this morning holding
each other in bed
for an hour half asleep you don’t want
to let go let
the day begin your fear
not allowing
anything else in
you hold on
waiting and living
your life between
times that you savor times
sharpening the activity
in your brain
times you begin
to take for granted
loving a little
more each
day so fixed
in its ability to change
to surprise and frighten
each day again
not what you imagined
in the stale closed room
of your brain where you know
nothing is permanent
and you hold
the image of his profile
against the storm more closely
and you startle yourself
into the present and hold yourself
down for two minutes in the middle
of all the irritation
to look at the coolness
of the blue in his eyes
you want to be there
breathing inside that blue
for two minutes inside the present
on this day clip
that image and hold it
up against the time come
rushing storm past
pulling everything into something
different like a snapshot
in a tornado lifted up up
up out of your grasp
you watch it disappear

wendy shaffer


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