My mouth knows the words
and frames them in gilt cursive,
ornate and twisted with false pretty
I don’t own, sweet phrases blooming
on pink greeting cards I never buy,
because I have truth to speak
that is simple, unflowered
and natural as breath. These words
are not my own and said only
because they must be said:
It’s okay to go.
I mean it, too. She’s leaving
with or without my permission,
but it’s something they say she’s waiting for
so I say it, my lips ignoring grief
big as a term fetus and tear-fed
kicking and unborn
under the solar plexus,
and deeper fear unthroated
that budded the first time
I got lost in the grocery store,
or the day she forgot my name.
It was losing, but in degrees
and hard to let happen, when hers
were the fingers I grasped first, reflexive;
before I learned the language of trust,
the sting of resentment.
How do you let go
of the one who held you first
and knew you longest?
We don’t, we can’t.
We loose spirit from flesh
only to hold it gently forever.