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Expiation

You never claimed to be a saint
and I didn’t need you to be.

Best medicine for a troubled time
when I was bleeding on my own sharp edges,
in thrall to the peaks and valleys
of pursuing fantasy.

Our garbled social notions say
we must play for higher stakes
than just a lover.
We should find everything in one,
put down roots,
and never share.

But what rot to think there’s one right way,
for if we had blessed our love
with words and diamonds,
we would have swiftly killed it,
chipping at it with resentments
over what each could never be.
So we took heaven where we could find it,
and never committed the alchemist's sin
of trying to turn glitter to gold.

It sparkled just the same.

But I sacrificed you for convention,
though my heart never gave you up.
(You would have done it, too.)
And now I find myself in a dark tunnel,
leading to an unknown place
where weeping gains me nothing
and the trail that I thought would take me to you
leads only to your grave.

Would have. Could have. Should have.

I never claimed to be a saint
and you never needed me to be.

This was written for Sunday Scribblings 2, The Sunday Whirl, and M.A. (fourth in a series).

7 comments:

Jae Rose said...

This is pure gold - each word and thought in complete synchronicity - like a partnership which 'shouldn't be' and yet the end suggests it should have. was and could be - perhaps in that light there is no need to make amends?

June 26, 2016 at 2:38 AM
Old Egg said...

Those that have truly loved know just how much it hurts. But that love is never wasted as it can be carried in just one word, just one glance and especially just one smile.

June 26, 2016 at 5:03 AM
Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Jae: We would have made terrible life partners, so in that regard I chose wisely. No regrets there. But it seems cruel that we have to choose, when no one person can be everything. I just wish now that I had done more to sustain the friendship that remained. I acted like there was plenty of time, even though in my diary from 25 years ago I predicted his early death. This is the second time in two years I passed on my last opportunity to spend time with someone I cared about, prioritizing my job, where nothing I do is ever enough and people who do far less but market themselves better get all the kudos. I'm doing a lot of re-evaluating now, to say the least.

June 26, 2016 at 10:13 AM
Jae Rose said...

Ann - I can relate to the sense of time moving beyond our control and yet also having a sick feeling in the stomach - the (re)evaluation of people who have left us..of who we were..and are. I think perhaps we always know what may happen to people we care about. It is horrendously trite but what we know we can't always stop but that never means we care any less or love any less. Sometimes we have to protect ourselves - to not let their fate determine ours (and vice versa). A true friend is always with us because they are a part of us even if we can't be physically present. I am sure your friend knew that and felt that. I hope writing is a helpful way to re-evaluate. You seem to have such courage in your reflections

June 26, 2016 at 1:27 PM
Alice Audrey said...

I grew up on Science Fiction and an interest in hippies, where convention is often tossed aside. I thought the perfect marriage would involve six adults and a dozen children. Monogamy? It was my husband who taught me that. I'm a fan of it now, but not because that's what society dictates. Just because it turned out to work very, very well.

But that's just me. I couldn't say what would be best for anyone else. Not that you have much choice when a grave gets involved.

June 27, 2016 at 5:06 PM
Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Alice: This was a non-monogamous relationship and we never tried to make it anything else. Of course I teased that we'd have never gotten together if we'd waited to catch each other between relationships. In those days I always had at least one boyfriend, often two. M always had a girlfriend plus a few other girls hanging around. Given the state of things when we started seeing each other, it would've been ridiculous to be jealous. And since we were completely lifestyle-incompatible, we would've killed what we felt for each other if we'd tried for anything more conventional. We talked about that once. But of course, everyone thinks that they know what a relationship like ours was like, that it couldn't have been love, it couldn't have been just as real and valid as something monogamous. I got tired of trying to explain and stayed silent instead. But there really is something magical about someone who meets you where you are and loves you just the same. We were together for four years. His girlfriends came and went. My boyfriends came and went. The only thing that ended it was me finding a true life partner who needed monogamy. M was close to getting that serious about someone too, so it was time. But I mistakenly thought it was just a hiatus and we'd see each other again someday. In 1991 I wrote in my diary that he would die young of a heart attack. I should have paid more attention to myself.

June 27, 2016 at 7:35 PM
Alice Audrey said...

Love takes all kinds of forms. What you described is a perfectly legitimate form. The main difference between it and what most people think of is that it's not the kind you can devote your whole self to. Doesn't mean it isn't important.

I find myself holding back saying a lot of things. I'm sick and tired of the same old arguments and incomprehension from an ever changing collection of individuals.

June 30, 2016 at 11:18 AM