In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

If I Could Savor…

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If I could savor all the bits and pieces of love I have shared

–with or without someone else–
and store them in a capacious safe place 
such as a warehouse, 
a bank vault 
and my heart, 
all in one, 
to draw upon on days like these after a night of angst and tremor, 
there would never be a moment of worry, 
of terror or dread, 
no steam of regret or anger, 
for all would be washed away in the oceanic amour reservoir. 
I have loved so much so often, 
it is a wonder there is any room for other invaders to besiege my mood, 
disrupt my sleep or daytime dreaming, 
none to spare for jealousy and greed, 
envy and hate. 
Love has filled all the cracks, 
poured off in excess to inundate the floor of my soul, 
completely submerged in pooled good will and heart offerings that bind. 
Or so it would seem on sheer mathematical principles alone. 
So many loves, so many times.

Is there any fiercer love in so fragile a bundle than the adoring eyes of an infant 
following and studying her mother’s face? 
No matter the need, 
there is brimming love un poisoned by desire 
and machinations of how to get that in my pocket, 
in my bedroom, 
or in my bank account.
No matter the illusion, 
the source is there in wide open hazy eyes 
studying the mystery of the powerful impulse 
to forego sustenance in order to drive nearer the object of an overwrought mind 
and wretched will to be in the presence of the beloved. 
The road is endless until a fluid destiny culminates. 

I asked a friend, 
and me, 
on occasion: 
How could there ever be a lonely-cold day of wondering where she’s gone, 
who she loves now, 
when she gave up so much of her herself, 
her ambition and freedom, 
the dream job and impassioned call to the city’s illuminating sights, 
to be with you those many years? 
Did you not collect those trillions of minutes and safe-keep them in your house, 
hidden in the darkest corner of your room, 
the moments of her bottom lip brushing yours in tender, 
have-spilled surrender to the night, 
your heat enveloping her breath, 
deepening her sleep to the pallor of death’s neighborhood? 
Where did you send those beats’ resounding 
if not through that mighty pump thrusting it off 
to venture through the veins of your mind’s nettings? 
Draw them now; 
paint the joy of that brush of your mother’s thin fingers through your hair, 
your grandfather’s whistling from the smokey yard, 
giant barbecue tongs in hand, 
your toddler’s honey sticky fat thumbs on your cheeks, 
your lover’s call in the late night longing, 
your sister’s tearful embrace, 
the memories of moving childhood laughter pinched in her arm’s muscular grip, 
and the first step in the door of the home and hearth 
you have craved for trillions of minutes endured away.  

Love is strong. 
I have heard of her lifting a car to save her baby 
and her loss heavier than the bloated body at the bottom of the lake. 
It does not dissipate for the air cannot carry such weight. 
The heart cannot contain it all, 
and the mind cannot grasp it. 
Love must reside in the thick rubbery green of the rubber plant 
hanging above my porch, 
or in the orange of the sky at dusk, 
or in the olive and pink sheen of my daughter’s freshly showered skin, 
or the ancient brown of the spots on my mother’s cheeks 
or the muffled sound of my father’s cough from the other room, 
or the musk of the classroom still lingering even after long summer months  
or the squeeze of my hand just before I approach the podium for my closing argument, 
or the earth of an emerging bordeaux on my tongue, 
and the thought of growing old with the world.

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