Speak

Speak
though your throat quivers
your mouth dries up
and its moisture reappears
in your tears.
Speak.

Ask the questions
that invade your mind.
Voice the doubts
that berate you.
Offer them to your love
with open fingers
though your hands
tremble.

If he is good
he will not punish.
If he is true
he will answer.

The success of your union
doesn’t depend on your virtue.
You alone
cannot destroy it.
But
if you’re the only one
chopping wood
and carrying water,
leave.
You are a Woman,
neither servile beast
nor maid.

Speak.
Let him meet you halfway
in the space between.
Allow him to step
into his manhood.
For don’t you want to be met?
Don’t you want a man?

Or do you need control
or victimhood
more than
love?

© S. Rinderle, June 2020

Tides

Expand and contract
Come together
Move apart
These are
natural phases like breathing.
Neither air
nor tides
not orbits
nor human hearts
follow any other law.

Question:
Can my ecosystem
likewise endure
the ebb and flow?
Can my heart tolerate
the changing weather?

The city burned that weekend
as did the juvenile hope
of our illusion.
We fall in love with the fantasy
then one day the full person
shows up.

I cannot force change
even with my passion
and formidable will.
To try
is to inhibit
another’s sacred rhythm.
To try
is to inhabit
another’s sacred sovereignty.

There is a softer truth
underneath the hard one
I’m afraid to feel.
True, I allowed my fear
to overpower my wisdom.
True, I have good reasons.
True, perhaps I’m
the damaged one.

I gingerly embrace
my vulnerability
and gift myself perfection.
I can access divine connection
any time.
I sense it even now
as order comes to roost
inside my flesh
in the shape of calm.
It was not my doing –
it was grace
invited in by my humility.

Loving truly
is truly terrifying
for in the wake of rupture,
follow repair
or removal.

Question:
What can I do today
to invite safety
to come live
between my ribs?

No matter what happens next?

© S. Rinderle, June 2020

The Black Hole

I used to pay compliments
to coerce growth
from chronically shriveled men.

Now I pay compliments
to bless his triumph
to thank his generosity
to document my pride
to celebrate our separateness.

I used to clutch and claw
at my lover’s heart.
I wanted to suckle endlessly
at the teat of his approval
but I could never be satisfied.

Now I ask for permission.
I take just enough
and give when it’s my turn
because I can.

I used to insist on clarity
and guarantees.
I was too small to contain
the anxiety of all what ifs.

Now I surf waves
on the backs of dolphins
my open arms embrace allowing
and hold unanswerable questions.

The greatest love is this:
to heal one’s own heart
through radical acceptance
of our tender longing
and yawning pain.

The greatest love is to gently close
the Black Hole.

© S. Rinderle, May 2020

Grief (the third movement)

To grieve is to
acknowledge the finality of loss
to face the possibility
it may not get better
you may never feel as content
as at home, as loved
as you did, there.

To grieve is to
be nostalgic for what was good;
for what never was
and never will be, again
for those missed opportunities
to speak or do that cannot
be recreated, for those
gone moments embossed on your mind
that you didn’t know
were so significant
at the time.

To grieve is to
peel back the scab of anger
reveal the weeping wound

To grieve is to
stop grasping
at hope
at salvage
at reconstitution
at straws
to give up and let go
let your lead heart pull you down
down like gravity
free falling into the abyss
into the bottomless deep

To grieve is to yield to helplessness
and that
is what I fear
most of all.

© S. Rinderle, 2016

Susana Rinderle poems

Grief (the second movement)

Ending things
before hatred sets in
requires releasing hope
those things will improve
which requires relinquishing
another piece of that relentless optimism
that makes you
you

I believe anything is possible
What stands in the way
is their will
Since I can’t control their choice
I control mine
and choose to stay
patient
longer than reasonable

I’m not a gambler
except in this
each losing hand proof
the big win hides in the next
I’ve lost years at this table
feasting on scraps
as years grow scarce
like bargaining chips
I finally fold

Better to end things
before hatred sets in
before too much is lost
like faith and stamina
sometimes optimism thrives better
at a distance
than under constant vigilance

Life is too brief
my wiser heart finally knows
I can bear the grief
as well as I stomach the rage
and grief
is quicker in passing.

© S. Rinderle, 2016

Grief (the first movement)

It is the saying of a thing
that brings relief
The courageous clinging
to maybe not
maybe not yet
perhaps this will pass
gives way to “what’s next?”
and the icy glass wall
of held breath and hope
shatters
freeing the waters
releasing the orcas trapped
inside my gigantic fishbowl zoo
to do what they do
best
flow and roam
in their natural habitat

A year is not a mood
I look past potential
to the historical pattern
of raw material
and no
this does not work for me
now
the signs are clear
I no longer belong
this is not my time anymore
I am no longer home

We can pretend we don’t know
we can wish it
but we can’t un-know
our very glands and cells rebel
against our stubborn denial
we see the cracks in the aquarium wall
we know it’s only a matter of time

It is the speaking of a truth
that brings relief
now there is movement
now I can breathe
now I am
free.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Grief