Zane Means God is Gracious

I don’t deserve

my son’s grace.

Today I had

a hard day.

Personal stress over

the mockery of feelings

that have become

my nonexistent love life.

Instead of crying

over my broken heart,

I sucked it up all day

like a strong mom.

Until I lost my patience

over the slime

that my son had spilled…

I should have took

a deep breath

and helped to clean up

but instead I yelled

about the mess

in the carpet

before I realized

that I was

having a panic attack

over my child’s fun.

So I turned my back,

walked slowly to the couch

where I sat down and cried

my eyes out in shame.

My sweet child

who could not let me

lie down in pain,

came forward

and standing before me

he said,

“It’s going to be okay, Mama.

Don’t cry.”

Then he reached

his loving arms

around my neck,

hugging me

through my disheveled breaths

until I found grace again.

The Pain Before It’s Over

My heart knows

the loss of you

before my lips

have found the courage

to let you go.

I’m sitting inside myself,

mourning the hope of us

which will surely die

when I’ve spoken my truth.

I know what I will say,

given the opportunity

pattern making plain

the future.

I have my reply

before the conversation begins.

Saved on a notepad

for the next time that

you ask for my bed,

or claim that your schedule

is too busy for anything

more intimate.

Ask me

and I will copy and paste

my freedom into our text.

The pain, by then,

will be almost over

because I’ve been prepared

for your response

by predictability.

Allowing me to mourn

your answer

long before you spoke it.

It may confuse you,

that I even thought to

give opportunity to this conversation

when I knew your answer was

bound to hurt me,

but I thought that assumption

was shallow

and I wanted to give you

the chance to purposely

choose me.

Enough Said

My thoughts carry me

in gusting winds

to the things that I should have said.

Repeating moments that could have been,

imagining the space in time

where I took a deep breath

replaced by the pain I should have spoke to.

The moment when…

I’m fed up and burst

with the venom

that has been held back on my tongue

for the sake of your attention

until patience is no longer my grace

and I can’t look at you with kindness.

My anger a seed that rumbles in my chest

which grows rapidly like vines

out of my limbs

wrapping around my torso and lips

until it is all consuming,

and I, a deadly flower that you must’n pick.

In that moment,

my thoughts are carried to you

on the wind

falling short of your deaf ears

and egotistical stare

which stops me in my tracks.

The pain retreating into me suddenly,

the vines a shadow presence.

The futileness robs my vocal cords

just as suddenly as a storm ends.

Each time I’m taken there,

the wind stops abruptly at the dead end

which is your cold heart

and I’m left to sit

in the self loathing presence,

where the venom still lingers on my tongue

and my disappointment leaves me

a woman with less to give.

Ode To Us

I pulled a blonde hair out of your tank top

when I was tracing my fingers 

on your neck.

It was the morning after

we fucked on my couch

and you held me in your arms

as you slept.

When we woke early to the sun’s rays 

and birds chirping,

you found my body twice.

You dressed slowly after

and smiled complacently as you sat

at the edge of my bed.

Satisfied with yourself or me,

I can never tell.

Not ready for your departure

I reached for you instead.

I rubbed your back in longing 

for something true.

What I found was a woman’s hair

that I’m sure belonged to the one

you said never touches you.

I let the dead strand drop 

to my carpeted bedroom floor

not a word said

and continued to trace my fingers 

in the way that I know you like.

When you left I kissed you goodbye twice

and wondered curiously at the past few months.

You’ve changed the way you hold me.

More tongue in your kiss,

Kissing me more frequently during our visits.

Having learned me, your love is less selfish.

Your arms hold me all night,

and your snores come quickly

when months prior,

I would have been gifted

with just a few moments of affection

before your back turned to me in sleep.

But the blonde hair was in your tank top

nonetheless,

and you never call me pretty

which I find suspicious 

because you always gasp at my nakedness

and smile when I laugh.

Just the same,

you left that morning

and I pretended to be okay.

As the door clicked shut behind you,

I thought,

well love,

that’s it… our story

represented in just a day.

A Hope That Lives in A Blade Of Grass

There is a deer

eating the green that sprouts inconsistently

in the wood behind my home.

From my window,

I watch as its half starved body

attempts to recover from winter,

stepping slowly here and there.

Hardly lifting its head

from the task.

Not greedy, just in need.

Nature’s garden giving hope

for this creature to live,

living just an act of endurance;

enduring the consequence that is life.

I sit here at my window

finding myself comparing

its feeding frenzy

to how I feel when I touch

your skin.

How your kiss pulls my breath

and yet gives my soul life in great gasps.

I know my longing

to be a hard winter

though I endure instead of moving on

to a climate more forgiving.

Letting your short attention span

which finds me once a week if I’m lucky

(but oh, how I love the days that you give me),

or the breakfast you once made me

be a gift that keeps giving

like the hope that lives,

for the deer,

in a blade of grass.

[You didn’t ask, but] I take my coffee black.

Hand softly enclosed around mine

Bed sheets hardly covering my glowing white flesh

Flat on my back

Mouth closed, eyes wide

finding every light shadowed across the room

Moonlight nearly denied by old drapery

I breathe in and out through my nose

quietly finding myself in the space next to you

Your snores oddly comforting, filling the quiet that lurks

in the space between each breath.

Confused in random sleeping intervals,

falling asleep to the security

of your fingertips on my flesh,

at least half a smirk played across my lips

at the intimacy of falling asleep holding hands.

Abruptly waking to either you or I adjusting positions

finding that the only position

is to sleep belly down

head rested opposite a vision of you

arm sprawled across my upright ear.

I finally awake to you scrolling absent mindlessly on your phone

ready for my departure, though seemingly patient.

I don’t trust you though your skin pulls my eyes

my lips finding you gentle

a reminder that I came here for you

finding one more moment of longing

expressed in short gasps

before I’m exhausted of your space

and feel a sudden need to flee your bed

The sun finding the first gaps in the cloudy horizon

air crisp, cold deep breaths

freedom filling my lungs as I start my vehicle’s engine

recognizing the energy I’ve expended

on being happy and complacent for your benefit

No longer un-impressed with the weight of your baggage.

I’m inclined to remember each moment with an empty smile and happy hellos when you text.

Your interest hardly a prize in short sentences and long journeys

in which my status as a queen must go unquestioned but always tested

and your pursuit a requirement

Hardly dwelling on the moments

when your laughter filled my eyes

and comfort was your dark skin

warm in the night folds which loved me for moments

as I found myself dreaming of you,

eyes wide open

fingers lightly tracing my desires into your bare skin.

Would you like me on my knees or back?

He meant to fuck me

And I meant to love him

I took off my clothes

Knowing that only one of our needs

were being met

I told myself not to hope

Just move your hips back and forth

Like you love the smell of his sweat 

Moan as if he gives you 

Life with his breath

Breathing out slow and ragged

Do not ask for more than he gives

Never wish to be his

Don’t hold your breath 

waiting to be called beautiful

Lest you die an early death

That’s what I tell myself

That my hopes,

My wishes,

Should be swallowed back

A lump in my throat

Tastes like him

Can I get a drink of water?

“It’s in the kitchen 

With your shoes and coat”,

He says…

Drive safe on your way back home

Asleep in his bed

before I’ve shut the door behind me 

My Bed isn’t lonely in the summer

If only the sun would come out

And shine on my smile

I could glisten like a Diamond

That has never known misery

The Michigan winter dreadfully dreary

I wait for the summer to arrive with its joy

I miss waking up to the birds’ 

Sing song chirping outside my windowsill 

And the sound of waves 

Hitting the sandy shores 

Where my son’s smile can be heard

In his delight

The sunshine warmth coloring our skin 

My son’s into a golden tan

And mine full of freckles

As if the heavens threw glitter on my skin

An angel’s kiss

I miss the smell of grass freshly mowed 

And the crispness of bottled water

After chasing my son in the park

Or running behind him as he wobbles on his bike

Down a bumpy trail

The sweet relief of a thunderstorm

When the heat hasn’t broken for days

And the way my bed doesn’t feel lonely

In the midst of summer 

Sprawled out on my covers,

Limbs in all directions

Begging to catch every slight breeze

From my opened window,

Just a few things I miss about summer

To say I love you is a risk

I asked you a question

Meant to be rhetorical

And yet your answer to it

Made me pause

And reflect on my assumptions

What started as just a flirty statement

Made me think I’ve let us both down

Though I haven’t the courage to change it

“Have I ever told you how much you mean to me?”

You answered, “no”.

And then I replied with, “oh”.

I thought it had been obvious 

That you mean more to me 

Than the words that have left my lips

In the way I look at you

The sway of my hips

I couldn’t tell you, “I love you”

Not in that moment

And not in the next

You haven’t given me reason

To trust you with my heart just yet

No encouragement from you 

To share my vulnerabilities

I can’t run to you with my insecurities

And even though you have left every expectation clearly laid out in front of me

No complications

No dinner or movies

Just sex

I can’t help but look at you

Or smile when you fall asleep holding my hand

Mesmerised by the richness of your skin

The sweetness in your eyes

And the way your heart sounds in your chest

I think the world should see you

Through my lens

I need no encouragement to love you

Because you’re beautiful in all your imperfections

and I see a good man who deserves my patience

I relish your smiles 

And the way you kiss me so softly

As if it were really just a dream

No, I haven’t told you what you mean to me

And quite possibly I will never

Express myself so openly 

As I do on this paper

Which holds my heart

And bares my vulnerabilities

I will keep writing about you though

And someday, I hope that you will come to love me

And should you never find in me

What I have in you

at least I know that I loved you selflessly

Not needing any encouragement

Or promise from you