An Uncertain Declaration

Words burst forth.
Birds escape my ribcage,
No longer contained in the depths of my heart.
A sightless flight through foggy skies;
Left waiting, anticipating –
Will it be doves or ravens returning to the nest?

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First Date

Sitting in your car by the ocean
You were so nervous
And you burnt your mouth on peppermint tea in an attempt to be smooth.
We laughed till we cried and I couldn’t remember
The last time I had felt so at ease.

I couldn’t stop my gaze from resting
On your beautifully imperfect incisors
Framed by rotund lips of velvet, I yearned to feel
Your breath on my cheek.

Your abrupt departure shook me
Until your clarifying text
“I’m getting sick – that’s why I left.
I would like to see you again.”

And when I woke the next day to see
The rose you picked, sitting on my dresser
I couldn’t help but smile.

© T. Kalau 2013

Six Years On

It’s been six years since I packed my things.
I promised to keep in touch
I swore I loved you
Told you I just needed a little space to remind myself
How good you were to me
And that once I had sorted out my shit
We’d be a family again.

Of all the lies I’ve ever told
That one stuck in my throat the hardest.
I knew I wasn’t coming back, and I think you knew it, too.
But you let me walk out without resistance
(which, knowing you, was remarkable)

I kept up the guise of working through our issues
Until I got a lawyer
And you finally figured out that I wasn’t coming back.
I’ve never been so scared.
The drive-bys, the phone calls, the thinly-veiled threats
Were almost worse than the bruises
At least, they were a lot less predictable.

Everyone seemed to think that since I was “free”
Everything was suddenly alright
My moral support vanished
I spent my nights alone, missing you
Though I knew I shouldn’t
And wishing it could have been some other way.

Looking back, I almost don’t recognise
The frightened young woman
Jumping at her own shadow and
Spooked at the smallest sound.

Six years have helped me ease some fears
Though the terror of losing our daughter remains
Threats etched in my memory are not easily erased.
But now
I don’t look over my shoulder constantly
Though I do still keep my doors locked
And I moved every three years so you couldn’t find me.
One day I hope to stop running
Settle down and really build my life
I’m putting down some roots and starting to blossom

But then a cold wind blows and I’m reminded
Of your chilly demeanour and soulless eyes
And no matter how much wood I put on the fire
I just can’t warm my bones.

© T. Kalau 2013

R.W.K.

I began forgetting you slowly.

At first, it was tiny memories
That fell by the wayside:
The sound of you closing the bedroom door
Your bare feet padding across the lineoleum
The whispered “good night” as you wrapped yourself around me
And drifted into oblivion.

Next, I forgot how you looked in the morning,
Tousled hair and sleepy eyes,
That sexy, half-awake voice
And, yes, even your morning breath
(Which, truthfully, I was happy to not recall)

After the first few faded memories, forgetting picked up speed.

I forgot your favourite football team (Lions?)
And your favourite milkshake (strawberry? definitely strawberry)
I forgot the way you’d say my name
And the crinkle by your eyes when you really laughed.

I forgot the feeling of your arms around me
And the tickle of your breath against my cheek.
I forgot the butterflies you gave me
And the million sweet words
And the seventy-five unpleasant ones
(Because we did fight once or twice)

Slowly, you faded
Then all at once you were gone.

Now, although I know your eyes are blue,
I cannot recall their depth.
Though I know your lips are soft,
I have forgotten their touch.

And although I know I loved you
I cannot remember how
or when
or why.

© T. Kalau 2013

On Love and Loss

“December 24th and we’re through again.
This time for good I know because I didn’t
throw you out — and anyway we waved.

No shoes. No angry doors.
We folded clothes and went
our separate ways.

You left behind that flannel shirt
of yours I liked but remembered to take
your toothbrush. Where are you tonight?

Richard, it’s Christmas Ever again
and old ghost come back home.
I’m sitting by the Christmas tree
wondering where did we go wrong.

Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.

There should be stars for great wars
like ours. There ought to be awards
and plenty of champagne for the survivors.

After all the years of degradations,
the several holidays of failure,
there should be something
to commemorate the pain.

Someday we’ll forget that great Brazil disaster.
Till then, Richard, I wish you well.
I wish you love affairs and plenty of hot water,
and women kinder than I treated you.
I forget the reason, but I loved you once,
remember?

Maybe in this season, drunk
and sentimental, I’m willing to admit
a part of me, crazed and kamikaze,
ripe for anarchy, loves still.”

“One Last Poem for Richard” by Sandra Cisneros

 

It’s true, I admit it. Boyfriend and I are done. Have been for awhile, actually. While the Titanic sunk beneath me, I stood on the deck praying for a miracle, all the while knowing that deliverance would not arrive.

Everything was perfect, and then it wasn’t. Looking back, I can’t pinpoint the precise moment where it all started to unravel. Maybe it was the first fight. Maybe it was the second. Maybe it was when I stopped buying his groceries and cleaning his house because I only had the time and money to take care of myself. Maybe it was all of these things and maybe it was none of them. My perfect faerietale turned into something I didn’t want. My prince became an ogre… and I wasn’t about to stand for it.

I could do a lot of finger-pointing at his issues with his ex, or his questionable nights out with random girls, or his hidden sexist agenda that appeared five months in. But the truth of the matter is – I miss him.

I called it off. Yes, I’m the bad guy there. It hurts to know that someone you love is not right for you, was not right for you from day one and will never be right for you. It hurts to know that you, once again, gave your whole heart to someone who wasn’t able to treat it the way it deserves. It hurts to know he’s already moved on.

But now… now I need to live my life for me. I need to take care of myself. I need to mourn. And I need to make sure that the next time I give my heart, he’s playing for keeps.