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

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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

9 Regrets

one
that I coaxed his childhood
to lay on mine
But more that I never made him
the wooden car
I promised in exchange

two
that I never returned the wooden hanger
a kindly neighbor lent
to scavenging teens on a mission
on condition of its return
I said I would
I proved a stereotype

three
that I never risked being slapped or ostracized
by talking back
speaking true to power
when it mattered
I was already bruised
and pariah

four
that I missed her stormy adolescence
preoccupied by my own trauma
of premature adulthood

five
that I didn’t lose my virtue
to my beloved at 18
I let years pass in yearning and hope
only to find him again
changed

six
that I didn’t turn around
go back down the ramp at LAX international
fleeing home
borne by honest tears and indignation
abandoning him in response
to his abandonment

seven
that I didn’t give Margarita
my silver hoops when she asked
it was so little to me
so much to her
she’s 35 now
or died years ago
when her people rose up

eight
that I didn’t leave sooner
give up more easily
say no more often

nine
that it’s taken this long
to know I was right
all along
and all my regrets
were pauses.

© S. Rinderle, 11/2015

Elemental III

But
I’d turned down the volume for you
dimmed the light for you
spoke in hushed tones
plumped the pillows for you
waiting for you
to finally come home
You never did.

Now the mute button is off
pillows tossed
and I light up like firecrackers
4th of July
the day your rocky façade began to melt
fast and messy
like cheap birthday candle wax
when the wish takes too long

I have returned to fire and earth
Your weakness no longer my burden
your cowardice no longer my guilt
There is still love
but also consequence

I have reverted to stone
yet I am weeping water too.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Elemental II

My fishlove
you weren’t ready
you were the water
I drank, at first refreshed
for I was the rock
solid and sure
you would cover me
fill my cracks
linger in my dented depressions
make me the centerpiece
of your calming pool
while I grounded and contained
your evasive fluid

Instead, you were runoff
unchanneled
flowing away
gathering debris
pulled by gravity
downhill

So I became alchemy
transformed into water
to match your chaos
slacken your fleeing
with countercurrent
a river round your stoic rockface
to nourish and moisten
your stuck stones
to free movement

Instead you broke apart
when winter threatened

I guess
it’s not the fault of the water
for shattering the rock
when she follows the seasons
and freezes inside
nor the fault of the rock
for his ancient fissures
formed by heat and stress
over time.

© S. Rinderle, 2015