Versions

I learned young
To build a confidence
Maybe even a swagger
In how I carry myself amongst others
A survival mechanism
Created out of necessity

You see
I was raised around dominant men
And I realized early
If I wanted a voice
I had to stand toe to toe
And make them listen

It’s been a part of me for so long
That I don’t even realize it’s on

It’s hard to juggle that
And meet people
It deters and intimidates most
And those it doesn’t are attracted
To the idea of a confident woman
But not the reality of it

I think I scare people when I do drop that guard
I’ve discovered I have no half way
Just on or off with no dimmer switch
And that level of wide open vulnerability
Is uncomfortable to them

I’ve yet to find someone
Who can handle both versions of me
And pretending to be something else
Has never been one of my talents

Endings

The ending wasn’t an end
Just a vanishing
That made me call it
Like a Dr. over a DOA
Made me drop the match and walk away
From all the could have beens
As the bridge burned hot and bright behind me

And I’ll admit
I shed some tears over you
Some out of anger and damaged ego
But some seeped out of the crack you left in my heart
Because the truth is
I liked you
More than I’d liked anyone in a long time
Enough that you ghosting
Took me some time to get over
Some time before slow moments
Didn’t cause your absence to rise up
And haunt me

I’ll never know why or what
Because you didn’t give me that
Even when I did the heavy lifting and asked
You wouldn’t give me an answer
You sat in your silence
And held your reasons tight
While I wondered

And I’m not much of a waiter
But in case you don’t realize
The time I waited for the answer you never gave
Was more than I’ve ever waited
For any answer
From any person

It’s sad really
Because you could have ended it different
But you were a coward
Which caught me by surprise
Makes me question my own judgement
Because how could I have been so wrong

There are still days
When it fires my temper
Makes me hope you bust a rim after I see you driving by
There are still days
It cuts the smile from my face
When I’m not busy enough to avoid the wondering

But I’m a resilient soul
I’ve always been happy by myself
I will be again
As soon as I fix the cracks and dents
Left by your carelessness

I guess you and I
Were one of those things
Not meant to see tomorrow

destiny

he saw her for the first time
across the tracks in New York
when he was 18
and heading to basic

then again
nearly ten years later
in the chaos of Syria
through the sights of his rifle

at 31
they bumped into each other
strangers with memories of each other
they drank four bottles of sake
before she left him drunk and walletless
in Kyoto

the last time
he saw her was in the paper
of his little hometown
when he was 66
she made the front page
for dying in a fiery crash
on the nearby interstate

and he wondered
as he often had
why
if they’d loved each other so much
in past lives
they had been destined
to merely brush past each other
in this one

Hard To Love

She’d saved herself so many times
She didn’t know how to be saved
Didn’t know why someone would want to save her
She was a battle ship
Run aground
Punched full of holes
So many holes she didn’t know how
She kept them patched up
Sometimes she didn’t even
Know why she bothered

She had scars and demons and ghosts
Stitched throughout her body
Some haunted her nights
Some haunted her days
And others
Well others had simply been part of her for so long
She’d forgotten a time when she didn’t carry their burden

She didn’t have any trust left in her
No belief in fairy tales or happy ever after
Those who looked her in the eyes
Walked a wide birth
‘Cause there were monsters in those green depths
She had no qualms about what she’d been
Or who she still was
She was a believer in destiny
Despite its tendency to be a fickle bastard

She’d always been a warrior
It was bred into the bone and the blood
She was the keen edge of a well honed blade
Precise death delivered by red hair and porcelain skin
Covered with Irish freckles and tattoos from a dozen countries

In another world
In another age
She would have driven chariots of war
But she had no idea
It wasn’t that she was humble
It was more that the wolf had learned a long time ago
That she didn’t play well with sheep

She was a hard person to love
There was no give in her bones
No flex in her soul
She was a loner by necessity
Who didn’t share herself easily
Never forgot and rarely forgave
And changed moods with all the warning of a rattlesnake
She knew these things about herself
Had long ago accepted them

So she had no idea
Why he insisted that he loved
Had always loved her
In this life and before