Oh, how the ocean waves bash my ship, but seasickness is nothing when I feel the pain she left in my chest. Life pins me to the ground, beaching me on islands that only serve as distractions. Although I could have any goddess, it is the memory of her warm body against mine that allows me to fall asleep each night. So at midnight, I rise, taking a moment to spell her name in stars, and imagine that she’s curled up in the bed I made for her. She is the one who remembers me, despite admirers swarming her like wasps. In all my moments, the only time I could fall apart was in her arms. The waves may crash into me, and the journey may take away my youth, but I will still ride my way back home to my own personal Ithaca. This is where my lover is waiting for me, smelling like the violets and roses she tends to every morning.
Tao Te Ching
I once knew a man who loved another so much, he did not want to be remembered. He wrote poetry about being so flexible one could never be destroyed, but made the author the one who inspired him. As he wrote, he rested under a willow tree, watching the wind sway the tree’s branches back and forth. A day after meeting him, my love and I ran through the rain, the soft droplets hitting our bodies. Although it was barely a drizzle, our skin tensed, growing bumps as we shivered in the cold. Seeking shelter underneath the willow trees, my love told me I was much too stiff. The willow, she said, was never destroyed for a reason. It is the flexible that live the best life longest, like the ones who lived in that man’s book.
Early Irish Myths and Sagas
Although my love called me stiff, I would rather her call me a warrior. When I was a child, I decided I’d trade a lifetime without fame for just one day of glory. My love whipped her head to me, tears dripping from her cheeks, as she screamed, “You’d go to war for everyone else’s attention, but forget my love for you?” I left her as I took arms, slaughtering villages and armies, and only now do I feel the regret surge into my chest. It hits me in waves, rocking my heart back and forth, and freezing my lungs for moments at a time. Now, plenty remember me, but I wonder if she still hasn’t forgotten who I was with her.
Last night, I received word that she nearly died. She heard of the deeds I did, imagined the snapping of bones, the gushing of blood, the cries for mercy, though she was oblivious to the guilt I felt. A man from my home handed me a letter, written beautifully in cursive that looked like ivy. She wrote, “I felt like I was going to die, but instead, I made you dead to me. Now, my family, my friends, my neighbors, will not forget me. You will now fade from my memory, just as a wound becomes a scar. But I will not forget you. But I will not allow you inside my heart. Your sister has begged to give you one more chance. Come home, and I’ll forgive you.” The man said she had tears in her eyes as she gave it to him. She refused to look at him leave, and finding a way to distract herself, weaving a crown made out of flowers.
If Not, Winter
I creep towards delicate flowers and overgrown roses,
daring to touch something that may no longer be mine. My dreams
of milk and honey,
become something tangible.
Rushing into my home,
I tear off my clothes, and change into the purple robes she wove for me,
only to realize