Tag Archives: Secular

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




Baking brownies
makes me feel
at peace
with the amount
of turmoil in my life
which is probably
not much
or less
than yours—
whoever you are
reading this poem
on a Friday night—
and if you’re reading
this poem on a Friday night
you’d probably rather
be elsewhere
the one
you love—
the one who
happens to be
at the place we’ve
identified as elsewhere
so you should make sure
you have a couple of eggs
and cocoa powder and sugar
because baking brownies
is a temporary bridge
back to that state
of being mostly
content and






“Dutch Girl Having Breakfast” by Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1756

Yesterday Morning

Floating downstream
in the middle of the river
I had you alone
to myself
and it felt like
we belonged there
as much as the turtles
and the great blue herons
startled into flight
by our strange wings
dipping into the water—
and it felt like calm
had finally arrived
to replace the doubt
that kept trying
to pull me under—
and for the first time
it seemed as though you
(who have never been lost)
might not be able
to find your way home
if we were parted
by the currents
and set adrift
in opposite directions.









She and Me

He doesn’t tell her
about me
he doesn’t want
to hurt her
so he hurts me
with that same
silence, which,
to him
seems like a favor
instead of a lie—
so she and me
are two pieces
of cake
before him
and he won’t
finish one
before he starts
on the other—
and I am just a mute
and unheroic
slice of vanilla
being consumed
and enjoyed
and reduced
to crumbs.


Painting by Thomas Benjamin Kennington, “Polishing the Brass” 1912

Out Loud

Now that it’s over
and I begin to speak of us
out loud in past tense
I am able to listen
to myself
explain to others
how a perfectly
complacent marriage
became a severing
of the cleanest kind
without war or bitterness
or even regret
because neither of us
will take responsibility
for our contribution—
which is that detail
each of us will leave out
when we hear ourselves
tell our side of the story.







all you want
is something
so simple
the words
you must use
to ask for it
feel too complex
and redundant
so you remain
hoping that
the one you love
will feel you
slipping under
and without
even asking
if you need
a hand
will pull you
back up
to the surface
and hold you
until you’re
ready to let go.




“The Kiss” Gustav Klimt, 1908