By CLEANNA CRABILL
I am okay to wait, I thought, swinging my legs forward and back again,
feet tracing pendulum paths in the air, not quite low enough to scrape the floor.
I am okay to wait, I said, legs criss-cross-applesauce,
fingers traveling paths between the freckles on my forearm.
I am okay with waiting, I vow, and
there’s this new feeling on my left hand, my fingers separated, not quite as familiar as my right.
I am okay with waiting, I laughed, taking another sip of beer
sour, wet cardboard saturating my tongue.
Yes, that counts.
I am okay with waiting, looking around the room,
heart straining against my sternum.
I am okay with waiting,
I am okay with waiting,
I. Am. Okay. To. Wait.
You see, I don’t want to compare, and I don’t want to be compared—
i’ve been told comparison is the thief of joy.
I want to be joyful.
I want to be pure.
What is that?
Innocent, blameless, selfless.
What I was told to be, what I think I want to be:
the world laughs it in the face.
True love waits?
You see, it’s like my skin is at war with itself,
Hairs bristling at the thought and shrinking away at the touch.
Yet how can repulsion and guilt inhabit the same layer that
glows at the brush of a fingertip, the press of a palm.
It’s a battle, my mind wandering,
lounging in sun-soaked sheets, an open window,
a fluttering curtain, and
again my left and right feel the same, laced together with another’s,
The sun goes out.
I am cold, so cold I’m on fire,
I can no longer feel the fingers that were once so beautifully woven with mine,
just the bitter cold
the hollow darkness.
One or nothing and Nothing or one.
Not alone when the lamp has been turned off, when you should be I should be counting sheep.
Turn the pages, dig deeper, shed some light.
Not fumbling with clasps and knocking teeth.
Don’t run, grow roots, stand firm.
Not until the left fingers are separated once again can you draw close,
too long of blinks and breath on necks.
It’s not you.
Create in me a clean heart O God.
Is it worth the wait?
It’s not everything and
I should be free, singing and lifting my hands
But am I from a rib
That You will show me
or am I clay myself?
I am okay with waiting.
But am I?
What is it for, really?
Because he has earnest eyes, steady hands, and a yearning heart.
He has a smile so sweet,
grinning toward the ground.
God, how can hands that fit perfectly together and bodies that meld like the flowing stones beneath the earth,
souls that swell like the great waves of the ocean,
peals of laughter,
whispers in the night,
how can that be wrong?
I’ve been asking, I’ve been searching, seeking, crying.
I was, I am, I thought
God, I just don’t know.