a shadow,
there on its own.
questions of how and
of why
remain quiet and still.
i am sure
that breath expelled in day
and sighs released at night
will be out of curiosity
or longing.
perhaps just fleeting thoughts
in quiet moments,
then moments that become hours
and then days,
will nag.
the figure of flesh and bones,
now just a shadow.

i have seen your eyes.
i remember them
as they spoke,
as they replied without words
telling me of your pleasure.
now, what do your wrinkles say?
what do your tired eyes say?
lines can speak,
but i am not sure anymore,
they are different.
i want age.
i want old age;
its beauty even in worn skin,
in wrinkles around eyes
that tell of everything
words will not.
but your eyes?
i don’t speak their language.
and your wrinkles?
they speak of the arrival
of old age;
not of beauty,
of loneliness.

today i learned what geese talk about
when they fly,
when they fly,
when they fly away for the winter.
i said,
“no, it can’t be,
they have it all,
they have it all
all figured out.”
from the ground,
gazing up,
up – up – up,
their direction seems so true,
their flight is seems pure,
their lives lived with intention.
but now i know what they say
when migrating –
when migrating away.
it is not the view they are talking about.
not the horizon-line stretching forever.
it is not a life of freedom that they speak of.
rather:
“i need to keep moving –
if i stop i will start to think!”
“will i be attractive
when i get older?”
“i think i’m lovable,
but maybe i’m not.”
“am i integral to this company
or just kidding myself?”
“i pushed away another beautiful soul
and i made it look like their choice.”
from where i stood down on the earth,
without shoes,
with blades of grass between my toes,
i stood looking up,
shocked and amazed
as they sang these songs overhead.
how – how – how can it be?
but a part of me knew,
a part of me understood
that gilded arrows seen from afar
can only fly – fly – fly straight
for just so long.

when last we met,
when was it 2012?
you built me up.
have i told you that?
walking around Budapest
in the early hours,
sharing stories,
sharing the blissful madness
of brotherhood.
you rebuilt my foundation,
it had cracked here and there,
did i tell you this?
we are older now;
balding with wrinkles from living,
from knowing.
i should’ve come after treatment.
when i was told i would live,
i should have come.
before my back was stooped,
before i was frightened,
before the happiness of others
was more important than my own.
when did you teach me to speak?
when did i start walking
with shoulders squared,
and my eyes up,
fixed intently ahead?
when did you explain
that the pain in others
was not mine to heal?
when did you teach me
that my sensitivity
was a blessing, but also a target
for the weak and the hurting?
my shoulders are still squared,
brother.
my eyes are still burning, straight-ahead and direct,
brother.
you would be so proud;
with a word
i can turn away
those seeking my sensitivity
to heal them;
those wanting me to hold the weight
of their pain.
how aged will we be
when we meet again?
will we look younger?
will our wrinkles reveal more
about the lessons we’ve learned?
will they tell of living
and how we lived?
will mine tell you of the peace
you helped bring me,
the calm you brought an old man
with squared shoulders
and confidence-filled eyes fixed intently ahead?

now it is sweetness
finally

a birthday this year
wrapped in

peace

two year before
saw me encased in a tarp

in the damp weather

of

the faroe islands
pleading for your return

sweetness of a lifetime
held in two years

not all who beg for one’s
answers

walk away whole
or healed

sweetness

of a lifetime
carried for two years

the season is here once again.
this time of year,
it holds the memory
of such transformation.
i remember it was
when the hummingbirds left,
when they began their
great migration.
the air was changing each day,
just a little cooler,
a little
cooler.
before the hummingbirds departed,
they came,
wings a blur in such great motion.
“give us the skins
you’ve shed,
the pasts
with no place here and now!”
they said.
we took off skins and
layers of self,
all the fragile surfaces
that took our breaths,
that hid our eyes.
then we let a stillness come.
a tranquility in which we could say,
“this is how i will remember you!”

I gave my friend’s son
a book.
he’s just a young boy.
it was a gift.
it made us both happy.
he is six years old.
it is a children’s book
about the coast of Maine.
a book about my home state.
he wanted me to read it,
he wouldn’t let his dad.
“no,” he said,
“I want Jeremiah to!”
I wanted to share that
experience with him.
but my mind runs
too fast;
the words become a mess.
my mind moves
too quickly,
and they are not
the words on the pages.
this is my mind.
my words are here
and then they are
many miles
from my thoughts.
and my thoughts run,
and they are
in another world before
i find them.
it is this boy,
and his father,
and his mother
who will love me
and the words that
are not with the thoughts,
and the thoughts
that are not
with the words.
they will see me.
“I am very tired,”
I said.
“I don’t have my glasses,”
I said.
trying to excuse myself.
“The illustrations are
so beautiful.
let’s write our own stories,”
I said,
“let’s invent our
very own words.”
and he said it was “Ok,”
he said, “Ok, Jeremiah.”
that simple “Ok” held everything
i have lost with others.
it contained all
the forgiveness of my running mind,
and all the
forgiveness for my words
that didn’t follow the requests.
with him,
his father,
his mother,
i felt safe,
i felt home.