On Loss

It’s better to have loved and lost
they say
with pitying eyes.
They lie,
reciting flimsy greeting card verse
scrawled in cheap ink
that smears
at the slightest touch.

I am glass
The sound of their words
passes through me
they don’t see me
I might shatter
this corpse is a shell
I am mist
dissolving
and unstable
dissipating in the wake
of their breath.

They know nothing
of my love
or my loss.
It’s only better to have loved
and lost
if the loving was enough
and the loss
bearable.
The having mocks my life
for it is less betrayal
to believe there is no god
and disbelieve miracles
than to glimpse His face
and be forever denied
his Glory.

Do not lecture me
about patience and optimism
if you have not sat
on the chilled riverbank at dawn
watching the bodies wash ashore
with the incoming tide —
If instead you sip hot tea
standing in a warm kitchen
with your back to the window,
a picket fence you built
blocking your view
of the water.

I would trade those months of Joy
in an instant
to get back all the years
of pain and disfigurement.
I would rather float at the surface
than momentarily soar,
just to be plunged
into the drowning depths
to linger.

© S. Rinderle, 2018

I Know What Water Dreams

I know what water dreams.

She dreams of expanse both vast and microscopic.

Of extending her reach from shore to shore
filling chasms and holding unknown secrets of the deep.
Supporting frolicking human children on her beach
and pensive teens doing the backstroke.
Teeming schools of fish and calving whales
crustaceans and sea horses.
Leaving her nourishing minerals on shores and skins.
Supporting life, cycling life, being life.

She also dreams of the tiny places
rushing through my veins
surrounding my cells, bringing support, sustenance, and relief
to tissue.
She flows through my aorta and into my capillaries.
She lubricates my joints;
allows me to see.

Always she dreams of freedom
the ability to flow,
to move,
to be unrestricted.
Of purity and breath.
Oxygen and clarity.

Thus, her dreams are sometimes nightmares.
Horrifying quantities of sewage and inorganic waste.
Mutilated cadavers.
Sludge and toxic chemicals bubbling from open pipes.
Drunken revelers urinating at her side.
Tremendous trawlers razing the sea floor.
Fishers leaving death and destruction
like White buffalo hunters once did on the Plains.
Webs of fiber optic cables.
Dams.
Lakes of oil suffocating her delicate surface.

Also
disrupted flow in restricted arteries and tightened muscle fibers.
Obstacles of excess fat, yeast, chemicals invented by man.
Acidic thoughts, elevated hormones.
The products of agitation with nowhere to go,
choking her.

So she shudders, weeps, and wakens.

I know what water dreams,
because I, too,
have these dreams.

(c) S. Rinderle, 2009

Freedom and Regret

The price I pay
for clarity and conviction
is waking up alone
to breakfast in an empty kitchen
marveling at the loneliness
of the sunrise.

I paid the toll eagerly
at the turnpike
gaining entrance
to an unknown stretch
of road.
I would not rewrite history
even now
as I stand on the shoulder
wistfully watching my younger self
pull a coin from her purse
enthusiastically toss it
into the toll chute
saying yes to what’s next
blissfully cavalier
with her
power.
My eyes well with pride
and grief
at her tender ignorance.

We can only regret
futures that died on the vine
unviable embryos
never brought to term.
We can only know
what we chose.

I must trust in the kindness
of the Divine,
believe in her wisdom –
all else is futility
and dank regret.

But would that there were
a way to enjoy such
unprecedented choice
without the persistent gnaw
of loneliness.

Alas, I am born
too soon.

© S. Rinderle, 2018

A Memo

A Memo

To love a kitty
is to love routine
the precious monotony
of daily feeding and chores
an unavoidable anchor
to what matters.
It is submission
to the welcome tyrant
of inescapable need
a furry reminder in the doorway
that now is the time to stop
put down the pen
come back to the world
return to the body.

To love a kitty
is to love constance
the deep comfort of knowing
there is
always
a round, velvety presence
contentedly sighing
in some familiar nook.
It is to know that play
and warm vibrations of companionship
are reliably nearby.

To love a kitty
is to love generosity
for this tiny being
depends on you
for its very life
yet never gazes on your eyes
with mistrust and doubt.
Instead he teaches by example
intently watching the wind
and fluttering leaves
as if they are enough.

To lose a kitty
Ah, but to lose a kitty
is to lose
all these gifts
yet discover
many more hidden
in the crannies
of your heart.

© S. Rinderle, 2018
RIP 7/00 – 11/17

Pavlov’s Dog

Our love was the tipping point
Damaged things were repaired
new pathways laid

Your exit was the tipping point
Something more than We
broke inside me
in slow motion
over months

I survey the familiar landscape
once reviving
now it tires me
I feel heavy
The red rocks
stubby junipers
breathless curves
nuanced, shifting light
All of them took your name
You’ve disrupted
my personal relationship
with this land

I loved you in a way that was new
You agonized
you tried
you moved on so quickly
don’t think about me
while I think of you
ashamed of my tenacity
Her name occupies your horizon
what was mine and precious
is now hers
you don’t miss me

I never understood why women give up
lose stamina
become bitter
until now
Defeat looms
resignation draws near
apathy knocks

These walls have seen much
hosted many men
they are mirrors now
where your ghost lives
I will fade into the west
to regain color

I will diminish into the west
where memories are less pungent
where I’m free
Under these skies
I may never be
Pavlov’s bell rings
at everything I see
I salivate
obedient

but no one
feeds me

© S. Rinderle, May 2016

Photo: http://www.dirtproof.co.uk/2015/04/behind-the-rocks-50m.html

Happy Ending

When your lover moves on completely
there is always grief
amidst validation and relief

We’ve been apart
longer than we were together
Sweet reunion
I am reminded
of his virtues
deep voice
respectful use of space
gentle energy
the uncanny way he reflects back
my words
shows he listens

I am reminded
of his faults
the slow pace
taxing my patience
infrequent eye contact
threatening my visibility
the energetic wall
and silent lack of permission
to do or say all of me
I can now name it

We dined on headlines
bullet point and updates
We had apologies, gratitude and well wishes
for dessert
I’ve been replaced

She is better than me
not better quality
a better match
It matters not if a puzzle piece
is buffed, beveled, perfectly shaped
and cast in solid gold
if it doesn’t fit
where it aims to go
tabs and indentations
don’t compromise

I don’t envy her indentation
(that’s not where he filled me)
nor do I covet his presence
affection remains, and history
not chemistry or compatibility
I regret
no one has yet to fill the him-shaped space
he left behind
There is no me-shaped hole
in his life

I return home satisfied
yet mourning the loss
of his possession
and my belonging
I’m living the alternate timeline
that ended well
I am absolutely alone
we are absolutely over

I sweep off the passenger-side floormat
where his size 11s left dusty prints
I delete all our texts
from all those years
I discard the final memento
not out of spite
but completion
to hold on feels disrespectful
to all three

What is this grief and gratitude
contentment and wishing well
among loss?
It’s the absence of resentment
a symptom of path rightness
living life’s gambles
to their inevitability

I don’t miss him
I miss us
miss the lost happy ending
arriving home
a completed puzzle
in my mind
I covet that piece
I have yet
to find.

© S. Rinderle, 2016

Suffocation

I like wearing tight jeans
with spandex and an
elastic waistband.
I prefer tailored suits
and fitted shirts –
They feel like a portable hug
reassuring and snug
with minimal leeway
like swaddling clothes
providing a safe boundary
between the world and me
a clear container
for my diffuse sense of self
and expansiveness

My waistband feels tight now
my thighs like two overstuffed sausages
seams stretch and strain
I can’t breathe
I’ve lost ease
this town restricts like a corset
impeding the free movement
of my heart
choking the growth
in my belly
preventing me
from laughing fully

Is this why
my connective tissue
cries out
tendons groan
ligaments complain?
My skin erupts
in cracks and boils
My skin is my clothing
My clothes
no longer
fit.

© S. Rinderle, 11/2015