I can give you

All the words

that arise in me,

rise me,

and spill out

But I can’t

force you

to speak.


I can count

the wrongs

that I remember




into you

and bringing you

to ache

But I can’t

forgive myself

in your name.


And I can cry-out


the misunderstandings

we produced,

and displaced

in our haste

and never


But I can’t

bring you

to chagrin.


I can imagine


and me

swimming the seas

and gauging the tide

and singing the skies

But I can’t

convince myself

that you’ll be there

to meet me.


And I can reach for you

and chant to you

from my pen

to your eyes,

from my bosom

to your belly,

and I can move you inside

But I can’t

induce you

to communicate.


And I can speculate

on your gestures:

your silence

and then

the strength

of your touch

when we met again,

by chance

or by the luck of the spirits

But I can’t

rebuild myself

to undo

the judgments

I think you made.


I can only write

these phrases

and these words

Release them

as they arise and

rise and

spill out

I can share them

with you

’til there’s no more

to release

Even if

you can’t

free yourself

to feel yours, 

and share them

with me.

from breathing for breadth (TSAR: 2005, pp. 29-31)

                                                                             *photos by Salimah Valiani

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