The hotel room overlooked the lake shore;
your daughter’s innocence overlooked your tears
and somewhere, here, your heart broke
and you gave yourself permission to be wrong
about the wants long buried, the maroon and
navy blue faded by ten years of California sun,
the Vivaldi that was never played in your wedding
and our laughter kept running back to that
save point, reverse-walking through the bruises,
to two adjacent armchairs at Benton Hall
circa 2001, two girls who both thought their
hearts were breaking, that that was what
heartbreak amounted to, with the whole unknown
future a distant mountain and the tears enough
to fill up the deep void between the stars.
That wasn’t the only thing we got wrong back then
that would only be revealed to us after we’d
climbed that mountain and realized that tears
were scarce on the other side, that we’d have
to work up to the requisite vulnerability
if some weeping was really in order, and even then
you get spent quite easily and the truth, once
imposing and immutable like boulders, now falls
casually into the silence while we talk, unfazed,
about our sins, those that have been killing us
inside and those that are fully justified—
those lists are not mutually exclusive, FYI.
And our hearts still break as they have
a thousand times before in a thousand lifetimes
but it’s just another day,
just another day.
How far away from home we are, here,
looking wistfully at the pieces,
how far away from ourselves that
these confessions could only cover
half of the way back.
We are so much alike, you said,
holding up your mirror to my pain.
But I think that’s hardly remarkable.
I think this hotel is full of
identical states of disillusionment,
of foregone past selves.
The city in fact.