Various and Sundry Poetry

the one

I'm the one you want, I told her, or maybe I just imagined I did, having heard the moan, the sigh, the sweet release. We had already been in love for months. I'm the one, I thought, but I wasn't. There was another, another someone who had been there first, who had carried her through the roughest patch of her young motherhood, who had liberated her from small-town Indiana, who had brought her to snowboarding in Alaska and skydiving in Hawaii and a trip up Kilmanjaro. I'm the one, I insisted, through two fickle years, I'm the one you want - I'd will this thought on the drive home through another broken ventricle, my heart chipping away piece by piece, even though the great tsunami had already begun its early roilings, the continental plates too locked tight, so little room to breathe. I'm the one, I told myself on stony midnights with the streetlights flickering awake. I'm the one, I bit into my pillow, hoping beyond hopeful hope the tide would turn, the moon would rotate, the light would shift into some delirious pool of epiphany and she would open her eyes as if waking for the first time and lean into the waiting crook of my body and say, Yes. You are.