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I can only say I miss you in so many ways.
My syllables plunge like suicides
Into the space between us
the cold glaze of your wine-dark eyes

In my memory, they are still bright
Peeking around the old oak as we played tag like children
The scrape of bark across arms
The warm press of your waist in my hands
the sweet brightness of lemon and gardenia cascading from your hair.  
Now when I reach for you
There is only the chasm of cool air
across our bed, the rise of your shoulder
the fractured points of ambient light
illuminating the Cassiopeia constellation of beauty marks  
At the nape of your neck
I once kissed every night.
My lips still remember the feather touches of your hair,
The heat of your back against the curled sanctuary of my chest.
But now we are empty cloisters,
And when I hold my dreams before you
Like pairs of polished dimes
You tell me they,
and I
mean nothing.

You drive one, pink-nailed finger through the cavity of my loneliness
relishing in the slow soft flesh
That will always bend to you
Even when you turn away.
I am the sea
limbs bruised black
From the slamming of waves on levee
And I want nothing more
Than to flood you.

I am tired
Of reminding you that I miss him, too.
That every day
I feel his phantom weight in my arms
Wake in the night
To a changeling’s cry.
And I know it is the grief-bored holes
That drive us into cavernous waste,
Poison the well between us.
I see the wine bottles
You hide behind the washer,
the way you only clean his room when drunk,
Stumbling, teary-eyed, the way you always hit the mobile
When dusting the crib,
and its twinkling notes
Collapse around you.

I can only say I love you
In so many ways,
The folded laundry, sunflowers,
The lingering gaze on your still effortless grace, whispered “you’re beautifuls” across the night,
The favorite candy bar I find uneaten in the trash.  

Can you hear
The scraping rift of each fissure
Running down my back
The spidered cracks
You only drive wider—
Are you only waiting
For the shatter?
Tuesday: a squalling jolt of surprise sorrow
And I am holding a flood behind my lips
Mouth pressed to the leak,
While the sadness glides through me like a body under ice
Faceless, unnamed specter
Caressed in the current’s deadly beauty
While I stand voiceless, holding this sudden sorrow
Like a half-rotted memory.
Who is it for?
What tattered thread snapped
left a frayed chalk line
At the back of my neck.
Morbidly, I wonder if one of the men I’ve loved is dead
If this stranger grief
Is the last sinew of intimacy
torn asunder.
 Jan 2022 Jon Shierling
Pain doesn't leave you
till it teaches the lesson.

Pain doesn't leave you
till it makes you an artist.

Pain doesn't leave you
till it provokes wisdom.
Pain is a wise man's teacher.
 Jan 2022 Jon Shierling
i used to write about
living in lovers' chests,

hiding myself away
in the comfort of softer ribs,

not having to move a bit,
from bigger hands keeping me safe.

i dont want that with you.

make room for me
right beside your body,

i'll keep you in our arms
for as long as it takes to feel warmth,

i won't hide within,
i'll love you loud enough to fly

that's what i feel with you.
12.10.2021 Lucie
I wait for your call
Every evening that goes by
To create a poem
 Jan 2022 Jon Shierling
He asked
Why are you up so late

I said
Writing poems about you
My love
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