Sea Glass

Last Saturday morning

I pushed open our front door

To be met with

Our table, dog crate, and sofa

Askew

Askance

Crooked

And everywhere but in the right place.

 

You stood

Steady in the middle of the room

Vacuum in hand,

And said:

“We need to stop prolonging settling in.”

 

Settling in.

The first day we began unpacking together

Two things broke:

Me, into tears

And the handle of my coffee mug

That says “Simplify”

 

It is never simple

Whatever it is that makes us

Hold too tight, that is

When we forget that what keeps us warm

Is also made of glass

Can be made for our grip

But is still breakable

 

When boxes started spilling their guts

Cardboard skeletons collected by the front door

Progress, we said

We decided to keep the clock that was in our kitchen

Set for Chicago’s CST

So that we never forget

That there is always time

To remember the places from which we came

And that there are 60 chances per hour

And 1,440 per day

To return to where we started

 

On my last run in the city

I found a piece of sea glass on Lake Michigan

And there are few things that you

The piece of my heart that grew up on Long Island Sound

Love more

Than sea glass.

 

The day I moved home

I handed it to you

The person

Who

When she holds it

Can feel the smooth parts

Knowing very well

That its brokenness

Is the only reason

It sits in your hand

 

You look at it

And say,

“Isn’t this beautiful?

Let’s get a jar and start collecting.”

 

That’s my favorite part about you

I hide my messy from the world

But you hold yours up to the light

And use it

To decorate our four walls

The only person I know

Who instructs me to adorn our home

With everything that breaking

Has created

With everything that time

Has had to smooth over.

 

And for the record

You have never held me too tightly

You’ve always known that my retreat

Is just the tide

The weathervane of my heart

Sometimes spins without direction

But you remind me

That this weathervane

This ironclad heart

Can’t do its job

Without the wind.

 

We are two of the most impatient people I know
And right now, for the first time

We don’t have a dishwasher

I want you to know

That there is nothing more terrifying to me

Than being forced daily

To reckon with coming clean

With my own two hands

 

To know that there’s no such thing

As cleaning up

By putting away

And shutting a door

That sometimes readying ourselves to hold

What sustains us
Means taking the water’s temperature

And sometimes getting burned

And sometimes

Taking too long

To warm up.

 

There was the night we debated whether or not

“In vino veritas”

Was really true

And when I had one too many glasses of red

Got up the next morning to sweat out my buzz

Your squinted eyes without your glasses

Couldn’t see

But knew that like wine

Truth is distilled

If we just have the patience to let it sit

 

The way I sit on the edge of the bed

Because I like my shirtsleeves rolled a certain way

But can never do the button on my own

Gently prodding you awake

I ask you to button those shirtsleeves for me

You do it without looking

Somehow you never forgot how to put me together

Even with your eyes closed.

 

There is a piece of writing advice that says

“Do not tell me the moon is shining

Show me the glint of light

On broken glass.”

 

It is precisely on glass that is broken

That we are able to see the light

In a million different ways

That we are able to see

How the things beyond what we know

Can show us

Our own reflection

 

Like that of the two apartments

And three states

We’ve seen in the rearview mirror

While I’m panicking that I’ll never be able to learn the streets

Or bus routes

Or train lines

That this will never feel like home

You stand, patiently

With a map in your back pocket

For when I finally calm down.

You’ve always known something that I don’t

 

Like when the light isn’t good enough

You tell me that we can always wait for the moon

And that there are ways to see in the dark

Other than the sun

 

That there are ways we can hold ourselves up to the light

Even when the night falls

And isn’t that what we strive for

To be held

When we think our light isn’t good enough

Until someone reminds us

That lightbulbs are also made of glass

 

And what I like about sea glass

Is its ever-standing invitation

To hold ourselves up to the light

In order to see our cracks

 

I will always be in the process

Of becoming easier to hold

Without losing my edge

Without smoothing myself over

Just for someone else’s comfort

 

But I’m learning that there will be times

The tides

And the sand

Will pull me out

And push me back in

That I can maintain a hard edge

That I won’t have to lose my break

In order to feel whole

 

But in this moment

And in this light

You say we need to stop prolonging

Settling in.

 

And in that statement

All I can see

Is you holding me

In such a way

That illuminates my cracks

Invites my breaking

And as I unpack the mason jars

All I can hear is:

 

“Isn’t this beautiful?

Let’s get a jar and start collecting.”

 

A former coworker of mine recently posted that “Love is always louder, but only when we choose to open our mouths.” So, in light of the ever-creative “Fuck you faggots” chants from Charlottesville still ringing in my ears, here is my choice to open my mouth with a loud, proclamation of queer love. I love you, Kate.

Image courtesy of mireille LaFrance, Flickr Creative Commons.

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