Shards

I don’t know how to be
among so much brokenness.
I have the hands of a healer,
the eyes of a fixer.
There are too many that need healing
too many that worship
the brokenness
obediently inhaling toxic fumes
they mistake for air.

I’m not accustomed
to lying down on broken glass.
I set about with my broom
and my glue
because I was born this way.
I still believe in wholeness,
still covet purpose
but the mob rolls their eyes
at what mine can see
waving away my glue and salve
calling them futility
even as they ask me
to heal and fix
their brokenness

while
they
keep
breaking things.

I know I should adapt.
It would be easier
if I could learn
to whirl and thrash
amidst the chaos
as they do.
It’s not my principles
it’s my programming
I simply cannot get comfortable
among these shards
and twisted metal.

I love softness and green.
I crave slow quiet
in my cells.
I’m convinced they are possible
and I am worthy.

I’ve given up
on finding the edge
of this rusting decay.
I suspect this crumbling
is the world now.
Dread and déjà vu
slow my steps,
for I know how
this movie ends.

But I still don’t know how to be
among so much brokenness.

Perhaps
if I can just
sweep a clear, smooth patch
to claim as my own
away from the mob
I’ll be able to lie down
rest
and survey the terrain.
Perhaps I’ll find others
truly weary of the brokenness
or a path leading out
of this shatter zone
where
my hands
and my eyes
can find a new home.

© S. Rinderle, October 2018

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

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

Depression in 5 Acts

I float above the earth
untethered in the rain
like a hesitant balloon from yesterday’s party
low in helium
and alone.

I lay on the earth
like an uncooperative corpse
trying to wriggle free of the undergrowth
that sprouts over my rotting limbs
gravity pulling my dissolving flesh
into the ground.

I walk along the River Styx
beside the Angel of Death
with a spinning compass
in my hand.

I am the doppelganger
the real me is away
with no planned return
in her stead
I wear this mask
move my jaws
utter sound
but my eyes do not smile.

I’ve gone to mush
like the caterpillar in her cocoon
flesh in transformation
I carry my Body around like an accessory
this century
is so
rough on me
I think I took a wrong turn somewhere
I stand facing mirrors
infinite reflections in fractals
I lie down in their midst
allowing the ivy and crab grass
to cover and consume me
I will be a Tree instead
and break the glass
so I can see
the sun.

© S. Rinderle, January 2017

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

To the Woman Who Came After Me:

Do not forget your lineage
where you fall in the chronology
I am the one who prepared your way
cleared a path in the tangled thicket
of his heart
filled and smoothed over potholes
in his healing
cleared ragged cobwebs
from his mind
my body was a bridge
between his pain
and your happiness

If you breathe deep
you’ll detect my scent
on everything he touches
it was his broken words to me
he picked up
and handed to you
whatever pleasures you share
we practiced first
we rehearsed
the scripts and lines
he utters now
he called me Love
long before you

Remember your place
He only beat me to the end
I only regret my patience
He is a garment
a not-fit
I do not miss
but first washed, mended, folded
and put away
If I pine it’s only
for loneliness
not for him

I neither want nor need
your pity or sympathy
just your acknowledgement
I had as much to do
with your life today
as he does
that I called you sister
before you called him lover
that I washed
the dirty laundry and
weeded the garden before leaving
that my heart bled
into the sacrificial chalice yours drinks from
that my very flesh
served you
warming your nights
cooling your anxiety
that I
perfumed your entrance.

It was I
You will never be able
to repay your debt to me
so pay it forward to she
who comes
after you.

© S. Rinderle, 4/2016