In Another Life (A Poem)

So I did something different for this poem. . .I co-wrote it with a friend of mine named Nick! I met Nick in 2018 when I interned in D.C. We’ve stayed friends and he helped me with this poem! So I hope you enjoy this little poem. He wrote the second and third lines.

In another life, I could’ve loved you.

Our rivers intertwined as they can often do,

our flows becoming one, when they were once two.

In another life, I might have met you,

but the sky’s gone all blue.

For this is not that life,

and I will never be your wife.

In another life, I would be in a white dress,

walking down an aisle to confess

my love for you.

We’d promise each other to be forever true.

But those would only be pretty lies,

and overtime, we would grow to despise.

In another life, maybe we could work it out,

maybe we could get through this drought.

The storm would finally end,

and our love would transcend,

all obstacles.

In another life, you could’ve loved me,

and I might’ve let you.

But I let you say goodbye and cried later that night,

at another life that might’ve been.

-K

Snow (A Poem)

You disappeared like the snow in the south — the snow that falls, barely sticking but we all cheer as it does, like a child, and the snow is perfect, pristine, and pure, so, so white that when you see it, it blinds you. The trees are coated in cotton balls, the branches almost crystalized like a mosquito in amber. A magical frozen picture.

But then people march all over it, soiling the snow with their secrets and lies and pain, and then the snow is gone, melting into nothing. It was only there for an hour, but oh, what a beautiful hour it was. One shining, blinding moment where everything stood still.

That’s how you made me feel.

You stopped the noise, the world with your very presence. The calamity, the fear, the cruel words that dug into my head with sharp claws, was soothed like honey on a sore throat. Like the first crisp taste of tea in the cold mornings. Everything went away and all that was left was us.

And I assumed you’d be there, next to me, like you always were, your warm hand in mind as you pulled me into the world I’d long hidden from — ashamed, afraid but you always made me feel brave. But you let go of my hand and I was left, cold, oh so cold. I reached for you and you were no longer there. And I’ve never given thought to what I would say when that happened.

The girl who scrawls words in a battered notebook so rapidly that ink stains the paper, always struggled to speak. The words getting caught in my throat like glass, silencing me with all the edges. You always had the words, perfectly delivered while for me, getting out a Hello was a struggle. When you left, you took my voice with you.

Now I can only write this and hope you see these words:

Thank you. Thank you for making me brave. Thank you for giving the strength and courage to step out of my shell and to taste the cool air on my breath and explore the beauty around me. Thank you.

-K

I Should’ve Loved You (A Poem)

I should’ve loved you.

You looked at me like I was the moon, full and orange and bright against the inky sky as the stars winked. You’d smile at me as I named the constellations, talking about Neverland and how I wished that there really was a second star to the right that could take me where pirates roamed, mermaids swam, and children flew. Where faith, trust, and pixie dust was all you needed.

I should’ve loved you.

You held me tenderly, as if I was something precious, like the fragile vase that your great-grandmother brought over from Europe. She’d tell you stories about the vase and how it survived the voyage from the Mayflower just so it could set on a small plywood table, gathering dust as the fake tulips wilted. Your grandmother would’ve liked how I listened to tell her stories, writing them into a beat-up composition notebook that one day would turn into a book.

I should’ve loved you.

You touched me like I was a spider’s web, strong and sturdy as it stretched from corner to corner, dew drops sparkling in the sun, until harsh hands tore it down, the spider falling to the ground, and meeting it’s end under a steel-toed boot. You understood why I was guarded and you approached me cautiously, but not fearfully. You never pushed, instead, you waited until I was ready. Never afraid of my cobwebs and the skeletons that hid in my closet.

I should’ve loved you.

But I didn’t love you. I couldn’t love you.

There was no last kiss, there wasn’t even a first. Instead, I dropped your hand after you took it and begged me to stay. I turned and I walked away. My name on your lips. I couldn’t be who you wanted even though all you said you wanted was me.

-K

Books (A Poem)

I open the book, hiding under the covers with a flashlight in my hands. My greedy eyes take in the words eagerly, hungrily. I trace the words, pressing my palm against the cool paper, wishing that I could fall into the pages like one falls into a lover’s arms. (Have I ever fallen into a lover’s arms? No. I think not. Instead, I step into those arms. Timid. Unsure. Frightened. Wary. Those arms might squeeze me too tight.)

I talk to the books like they have all the answers. (Get your head out of the clouds, Keely, they used to say. They stole the books away, stowing them in boxes to gather dust. My brother got a book for me. Our own form of rebellion.)

I ask if they were scared when they faced the dragon, giving riddles to stave off the fear, and clutching a little gold ring in small fingers. (Did you wish you had stayed in your hole? Never opened your door. No. I think not. You enjoyed the adventure though we know you’d never admit it.)

I ask if they wished they had never got that owl and stayed under the cupboard where it was safe and sound. (Where it was dark and cold and spiders crawled all over you. Where you did all the chores and only got a scrap of crust for your efforts.)

I ask if they wished they ignored that strange wardrobe and prayed like all the other children did for father to come from the war. (No. You stepped into the wardrobe where animals talked and witches ran amuck, cursing sweets and shaving cats. Looking for something that no one could give. Only a father could. Only a mother could.)

I ask them if they regret the decisions they made and if they could, would they make a different choice?

Would they take a different path?

What was it like to face your death?

I talk but they don’t answer. So I create answers myself. I have conversations with the characters. They help me through heartbreak. They give me advice when I feel lost. They give me encouragement when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

It’s no wonder my first friend was a book.

We lose ourselves in castles, surrounded by dragons, fairies, swords in stone and the knowledge that the hero would always win. Because life isn’t like that. The guy doesn’t always get the girl. The girl doesn’t always find her prince. The heroes don’t always win. The books give us hope, love, faith, courage.

You turn the next page, holding that crisp paper that smells like home, looking for something that you can’t find in the world. Books are more than an escape. They’re a solace. An adventure.

-K