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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ann

smoky bedsheets & caramel smile: poem

i tell him I'm going to the mountainside. he asks if he can come with me. i live in tension of wanting lasting fall; in a scale on a tightrope tipping into insanity. last night, we looked first into haze filtered sun & second, leaf variegated bliss. in my head, i told the sun I was sorry about all the smoke, then told the trees they were pretty. he spoke a love song to the trees while holding my hand. how am i still falling deeper? does loving him larger by the moment ever stop? the answer to his question is yes. this man can come with me everywhere, into salty bathwater, steamy showers & smoky bedsheets; into want & need, have & have not, light & dark, bliss of skin & pain of life; into forests & sunsets & mountains & adventures where we will speak love songs to each other and hold hands with swooning heart.

ii. just beside an unnamed road in Coleman, Alberta, we held hands while my children moved a sizable branch down the beach. the air was cooler that day, enough for me to slip a hoodie over my summer dress. if i had been asked then, i'd have sworn we'd last forever. that trip was a vulnerable invitation. surrounded by wildness, my masks dissolve, and i am just me, a girl filled with heartache healing, hopeful to stand besides him, a boy on a similar path. smoke from nearby forest fires shrouded mountains encircling us, turning the photos we captured the evening before into a hazy dreamlike scene. about 2000 pictures ago, he smiled on that beach in a momentary pause on our way to gather my children for the next leg of our adventure. he didn't smile often but when he did my entire world melted into caramel syrup.  once my grief has stretched beyond the horizon, I will remember him like that, his sticky sweet smile on a smoky beach making me feel like anything was possible.

with grief that is tender and true,


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