I've known you for some time, now
and yet, I have not--
you've always been beside me,
but I could never seem to find you,
always lost somewhere in thought

(smooth and quickly as the sea
subtly, you slip away from me
yet just as swiftly, you return.
Smoldering, like a dying ember
you languish before my eyes,
but just as warmly burn)

I find you after sleepless nights
tracing the dawn upon your pristine canvas;
your eyes heavy, yet curiously aflame with desire
and intensity, as you sweep and blend the colors
of the new morning--
not the same tones, but rival hues, by choice--
shades which many palettes only attempt to
suggest in muted whispers of a day begun,
but never dare to voice

(turning to me, seeking contact,
your eyes clash with the brilliance
of the newly-risen sun)

I see you, standing alone,
wrapped completely in thought,
your brow creased in concentration;
your gaze penetrating the depths of that
far-off world which momentarily holds
you in its hypnotic grasp...
that world is accessible, and yet
it is a place I cannot reach you:
if I touched you, it would be only
your shell that I felt, and you would not know me:
we two strangers, standing lost,
as tideswept crustaceans on foreign shores
but both searching, avidly,
the same wide and wondrous sea

(I hear you, with your thundering glances.
You speak to me, revealing the things
you could never say aloud--
eyes that belie and speak of pretending;
a false attempt at being proud
of something we never really had...)

I gaze at you, quietly seeking the answers:
we share the conversation.
For hours, we converse mutely
yet understand one another
without saying a word, as we speak,
uninhibitedly, of everything and nothing,
and, all the time, not a single aspect
of our communion ever goes unheard...
and I wonder, through all of this,
could I have for one moment truly found you?
And had you ever known me?

It's taken all these years to find
that it's so close,
but yet so far, from where we want to be
and where we really are

(previously published in Poet's Haven)


Your leaving
was almost as bad as that
time I caught my hand in the car door

at first, numb; too stunned
to even move or scream,
do anything

then reality hit like a fist in the gut
with a rush of blood to the damaged part;
the throbbing limb
the broken heart...

the only thing is, I don't remember
crying quite as hard

(previously published in Underground Voices)


Sitting across the table from you
in a crowded, Chinese restaurant,
I made the mistake of asking you
how your trip to Alaska went and
ended up trying with all of my might
to keep my eyes from crossing in
complete incredulity as you droned
on and on about the efficiency and
precision of vacuum-packing clams
and started to wonder what in God's
name possessed me to go out with
you again, and it was at the exact
moment the check blessedly arrived
that I decided to pull the old powder-
my-nose routine and slip away,
leaving you mesmerized with fond
memories of crustacean adventures
in the Arctic land as I snuck out
the back and ran for dear life, away
from you and that little slip of
paper that warned against rekindling
old flames that seemed to run
relentlessly on their own gas

(previously published in My Favorite Bullet)

© Cynthia Ruth Lewis