If Only

If only I could share the dreams I had last week,
describe the collage I keep envisioning,
tell you what it’s like to be fourteen again,
capture the light on the estuary at dusk,
the unbroken horizon,
the rocky beach where I walked alone, crying.

If only I could write about how the tears
come when a song comes on the radio,
come when the town closes in around me,
come when I step into the loss of my family
and come when I step into the loss of myself,
come when I stand on the shore or at the edge
of the boat or at the top of the tower
looking out over a rainbow town,
come when I wade into the low tide
and keep walking, willing myself to the sea floor,
come when the cedar and sage smoke trace
the outline of my body.

If only I could paint the rose-wet cave
that haunts me,
and the row of four heads in the bed in the morning,
the child’s drawings on the fridge:
Mama, Dada. Mama, Dada. Mama, Dada.

If only I could rewind the pitch
you threw me in the dream,
and if only I could replicate the rebel yell
that followed my failure to throw it back.
If only I could write my own story,
trust my own longing,
become a hand resting on your heart
or a leather bear around your wrist
or something as real as standing on your porch,
this time to finally meet you.

If only I could show you the movie of my life
the sky has been filming since I was young.
Then maybe.
Then maybe.
Then maybe.

But until then –
and yes, that day will come –
I will mourn, and tear my shirt, cover the windows
and open the front door
and breathe in and breathe out
to the tune of time passing,
the pages of the book of laughter and forgetting fluttering
in the air where the yellow finches flit,
in this low marsh
where I keep running,
hoping
not to vanish completely.

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