Island

I’ve counted miles by the islands
hours by the days
wasting decades
of wanting
and waiting

I loved you
because you know the names of trees
Let no one mistake your kindness for weakness
You are like bamboo
You nod often and smile only
when you mean it
You kissed my forehead when I was ugly
comforted my nightmares like children
Your eyes are the color of stars

Your words brimmed
with the unstudied mastery
of attention and time
Your hands gifted the kindness of noticing
You move with imperfect grace
through the world
in reasonable expectation

You are not a doormat but a door
When my love knocked, you opened
You were the hinges on a trapdoor
out of my liver
allowing my rage to drain away
reviving my trust

I loved you
because you had a man’s feet
and a woman’s ears
You apologized with your whole torso
Your gratitude came as easy and abundant
as breath
Your fingers went into me asking
not to steal

When you said you missed me
you meant all of you
You spoke in complete sentences
reweaving the hanging threads of our conversations
You always found the North Star

You were the permeable boundaries
around the cell of my soul
the soft padding on the walls of my life
bouncing off my sharp edges
cushioning my corners
Your chest was a shield

I loved you
because you only follow gentle rules
and rebel when convention squeezes too tightly
You worshipped sanity
and called even when you didn’t say you would

You loved me
in public pride
out loud and declared
like that November morning
you asked me to be yours

Since then
this mortal organ in my chest expanded
beyond the confines of my bones
a butterfly who crossed the ocean
finally on land
cavorting through the greens
slowly feasting on nectar

I’ve counted miles by the islands
hours by the days
You were worth the wasted decades
You loved me the best you could
but you were not the shore

You are an island

Sometimes
the best so far
just isn’t good enough
so I return to sea
I return
to waiting.

© S. Rinderle, 2014

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