If you could come over to my house right now, I’d make you a pot of tea and read to you from my favorite book in the world – My Grandfather’s Blessings. Let’s pretend.
At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he’d just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she’d been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.
Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching–
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn’t look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.
But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after–if she beat you or left you or
you’re lonely now–you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman’s middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.
Some thoughts on the wobbly practice of setting boundaries. Give a listen and share your thoughts below!
where you can get it
A fire pit in Glenwood. Leftovers in Lincoln. A bike trail. A blueberry.
A tray of watercolors. A full moon. The bear hug from a kindred friend.
An offer of help. The road to Loveland. A cup of ice. A grin from Jerry.
Sawyer’s red hair. Clara’s fire-breathing dragon. The last poem at the end
of the day. Vacancy at the campground. The sighting of herons. The words
“Come in.” An old highway that takes you through a small town. A kitchen chair.
When someone understands you perfectly. A piece of pie cut into thirds.
When it comes, tuck yourself into this brief and tender home. Lean into the air
of it, the permission slip, the romance of a moment’s sweet caress.
Grab more fistfuls of these tiny stars. You need more light, not less.