love poem #261

In yoga class on the 1st of the year, minutes after the sun finally rises in Alaska — 10:30 a.m. — the teacher tells us about the importance of precision over perfection. The difference, she explains, is that when you are precise, you are fully present. All you have to do is concentrate. Everything real happens in this moment. Focus. It was a helpful reminder because all I wanted to do was spend the class thinking about

You bring me to your father’s New Year party. There is karaoke and crab legs and very little English. You hold my hand and tell me you’re sorry we can’t do something cooler on New Years’ Eve, but your father really wanted you to go to this party. I like you even more for caring about him but I don’t tell you it doesn’t matter where I am as long as I’m with you. You would say I’m cheesy.

I tell you my New Years resolutions. One of them is “Don’t Get Pregnant.” I’d written that one as a joke, but it sounds too serious when I say it out loud and you squeeze my leg but don’t say anything. You are turning thirty in two weeks and you don’t like when I tell you that I’ve heard our thirties are our best years. At midnight our kiss lasts forever. You tell me that 2016 can’t have been the Worst Year Ever because you met me and I could argue but I won’t.

For Christmas you got me an alarm clock that mimics the sun. It rises and sets; it is a cure for seasonal depression – we set the alarm together and select the sound of sea birds as our wake-up sound. Normally you can’t sleep while holding another person but for me you make an exception.

At 4am the fire alarm goes off. It is 2 hours before you have to wake up for work. I borrow your clothes and we say hello to your shivering, shellshocked neighbors then huddle in your car. It is is horrible but I have you. I am struck by how good it feels to have you when I’m tired, hungry cold and worried. When the fire department finally comes to ascertain our safety, we are too disrupted to sleep for a while. Luckily there are many conversational topics best explored at 4am, and I think about how you are my friend, too.

Too early, the morning the alarm clock sun rises, and it wakes me up first – sun, sea, you. I stare at you; you are gold. It feels like stage light. Are you real? Are you really mine? Will you stay? Can there be love without possession, or anguish? You are so beautiful but I’m afraid you’ll wake up to me staring at you so I close my eyes and fold around you instead. I am lucky that 2017 starts with you – a little tired, cold, but not on fire. False alarm. Safe for now. Bathed in a strange, gold light.

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