Before there was you, I loved with a young heart*, after, maybe a less fortunate kind of love. Ravages your heart, it just kind of stops, beats real slow, then you wake up one morning, like every morning, your head processing the array of mornings, similar, & it’s just gone.
It repels you. Every word is an unbearable weight, annoyance, & it ends all the same, with not even a day lapse sometimes, & you’re on to new mornings.
You should be warned that it takes awhile to find out what that persistent rattling is, but when you finally see it: Your heart pulling its empty cup against the same ivory iron bars that have housed nothing but It since you stopped calling, realization comes clearer than anything else might ever be. On its walls are dusty, displayed photograph memories that pull back on nostalgia’s big brass knocker, until thinking of “What Was” holds it up no longer, & it falls & rests with a deafening echo against the door. And although you think that it won’t, it does eventually fade, & it seems so distant, then, that it really could have been a dream that I ever loved you as much as I did.
I held your picture in a hand pressed locket when I slept. It only delivered you to my dreams once.
*Before there was you, I loved with a young heart. I never even imagined love to be so analytical, practiced, routine; protected by layers of brick over cement that kept me cool in warmer weather, while all at once taking my innocence and naïvety, but to its credit, not with empty hands. In exchange, I learned how to speak. Learned to keep as even as possible. There was, after-all, no one there to ignite that crazy flame that used to burn so bright I would scream myself to sleep, awaking akimbo, tangled & sweating in bed sheets that were always mine. So you learn to use what you’ve got and make the best from it all.
Admittedly, on Winter work mornings, I would look East and see the mountains I braved for you, & almost fooled myself into feeling the heat from the bright sun & not the heater balancing precariously between feet & face. My stomach gripped with nostalgia for Arizona Summer, where I drove those endless winding roads to see you, stopping at the bottom of each to catch my breath. To breathe. Ani, playing loudly through open Mustang windows that did nothing to stifle the pressing heat, the ticket in Yuma, Ani, egging me on like she always does, knowingly writing our Love.