Tag Archives: expectations

The Answer

Maybe love isn’t the answer
after all
to the question of happiness
which was never part of the plan
when the cells
that would become us
were dividing into our ancestors
who never knew how easy
life would be in the future
with sharp tools and wheels
and gods
we are no longer required
to believe in or praise
for giving us a desire for love
that many of us will never find
so it seems like a good idea
to bury our hearts
in a mass grave dug
with a mass-produced shovel
and seek unconditional devotion
in the divine and perfect form
of cat or dog.











to hear
your request
which felt
like a complaint—
and I could see
your feet
in my imagination
as my lips
into a grin—
a wish
you’d like me
to fulfill—
and your
that I failed
to see this need
fills me
with joy
that you
are human
after all—
that I have
any power at all
to hurt you—
even if
it’s only
a little.






How to Love an Introvert Part II

Don’t make him ask
for space
stand back
way back
wait to be invited in
and never stay too long
or try to expand
his sanctum of solitude
which will only ever
be big enough for one
and occasionally you
might find
that your introvert
seems to be
missing you
in the familiar way
you’re used to missing him
but don’t believe
for a moment
that this means
you will inhabit his future
in any conceivable reality
so be sensitive
to the limits
of your loved one
and never
never expect to mean
as much to him
as he means to you.







“Baleen” by Andrew Wyeth 1982



For months, weeks, days
you’ve been falling in love
with his surface and his pretty eyes
and the way he sees the world
as a broken toy
he’s determined to fix—
and you love the sound of his voice
teaching you the Latin names
of every wildflower and tree
that grows along the river—
and you smile when he smiles
as the sandhill cranes fly home
and when the monarchs return
from their winter retreat—
and you love the way he loves you
so freely and correctly,
without expectations or demands—
and now that you’ve broken
the surface and reached his depth
you know you can’t ask him
to belong to you—which would be
like asking a wild thing
to feel free inside a cage.










Note to Myself

When you have lowered
your expectations
lower them again.
Let them ride on the bottom
of your boots—
Expect nothing in return
or in exchange
or in favor
of happiness,
which seems abundant
only in the woods—
where you had a lovely exchange
with a man
admiring the wildflowers
on the riverbank.
Forget about his smile
and the way he wrapped his arm
around a Sugar Maple
as he spoke to you.
You will never know
how it feels to have his arms
wrapped around your body
like that—
and you need to stop
returning to that tree
hoping to find him there—
pretending you are
sturdy enough
to lean into, to need—
to love.



What You Will Pay For

Months in advance you put in for the time off.
You book the flight, hotel – the rental car.
It doesn’t have to be Europe or exotic.
It can be Vegas or that Grand Canyon
that many have fallen into by accident or on purpose.
All you want is to stand on that edge of anticipation
for as long as you can.
It doesn’t matter that the beach
won’t look like the pictures
or that the accommodations you can afford
will fail to overwhelm.
You already know that absolute happiness
is impossible wherever you stand—
that you are the wrong end of a magnet
unable to make a connection.
Joy is an achievement of your mind as it hovers
above the pillow before you go to sleep.
It isn’t the view from the mountaintop
or the taste of fresh lobster
that will make your trip worth the exchange
of a paycheck or two.
The sweet pleasure of longing is the prize.
The delicious expectation, prolonged and satisfying—
this is what you wanted.
For this, you would pay almost anything.


Metamorphosis, Evolution, Deconstruction – Call it Whatever the Fuck You Want

Metamorphosis, Evolution, Deconstruction –
Call it Whatever the Fuck You Want

You leave again
and I watch as the pattern
that forms around our union
becomes prettier and softer
like the hem of an old flannel shirt.
It’s been years
since we raised our voices in anger—
when the color red
seemed to paint the iron walls
of our tiny bedroom.
You used to leave indignantly
and furiously with both sets of keys
while I worried that the children
were still awake in the sanctuary
of their beds.
You always came home
with a bouquet of apologies,
and I would pretend
we were both to blame—
which was only sometimes true.
Eventually, I learned that turning
from red to blue – from hot to cold
was a more tolerable way to live
with the unwelcome
accoutrements of marriage.
Today, there was no rage.
There was no yellow serenity or calm—
Just a quiet blue indifference
when you made your exit
into the pink horizon.
I imagine one day I will watch you leave
and hope you never come back.
But today is not that day.


DeMaris Gaunt

Photo Credit:
Andrew Cockayne