I read once about two almost lovers
Who never met, because they were born centuries apart,
But if they had,
They would have made Marc Anthony and Cleopatra
Look like awkward friends
Who felt something for each other
And scarcely had the bravery to voice it;
Their eyes meeting blushingly,
Their sentences stammered in front of Caesar,
While both of them longed to be alone and making love,
In the sudden cool of Alexandria at night,
With their headdresses still on.
You knew me better than I knew myself.
I was a book and you leafed through my pages
Seeing sentences I had overlooked,
Running your finger along a line and speaking it aloud,
As you broke the silence of my life with every reading.
I used to wish for time travel
So the gaps between us could vanish;
The Years collapsing in on themselves,
Until they were nothing but moments
And we were beside each other.
I thought that was an answer to a question I wanted to ask.
But I was wrong.
Everything we were, exactly where we met
Was why we mattered.
You stepped out of one part of my life and straight into another,
A battle axe in one hand, your other holding a cup of tea,
Sweet and fragrant,
Like the fields it grew in,
And the pack on your back was filled with stories
You would show me like old maps.
Some months, your voice was the only voice I heard.
You brought me steadiness.
For every bitter spoonful of fear I had to swallow,
You stirred two more of strength into my cup.
It was your cleverness that captured me,
And, together, we solved the world,
Examining it from all angles like a strange exhibit at the zoo.
We counted tails and legs,
And commented on the nature of its ears.
We admired it and we scorned it,
And then reminded ourselves it was an orphan,
Who needed our love.
There are friendships of a lifetime,
The kind that are held so deeply
They anchor us to ourselves.
We have discovered that.
I made you a promise, once, because you asked me.
It ought to have been a small thing,
But reality cheats at cards, and you might as well have asked me to wrap the sun in chiffon
And leave it on your dresser,
For you to admire.
Not long from now,
It will become impossible to break,
And when that day comes,
I will use the frozen blue rivers
Of my sorrow
To skate my way on, and I will make patches,
Again and again,
From everything I feel,
To weave into the sky;
A sad seamstress,
Remembering how you told me the grass of this country
Is made with emeralds
For those who long to see it
And how I must marry a man I can turn to on a train,
As trees race passed, running to meet their forest,
And know, with his ring glinting on my finger, that I could find words to give him, if I chose to,
Because he does not bore me.
I honour you,
And I, not big on making promises,
still choose to make another:
I will live the best and longest life I am allowed,
And if the grey touches my hair,
Or the crows leave their footprints beside my eyes,
I will think of you,
I will be glad of you,
I'll love you.
For I have carried the gift of you this far
And nothing in the Big Bang driven grace of our existence
Could make me let you go.