I’m troubled by my continuing fixating on the one I love–the one who said she had to go, seventeen months ago. One of the poems we used to read to each other was To Have Without Holding by Marge Piercy.
At the time we boldly set a new course by giving ourselves to each other with hands wide open … the way you’d hold a bird after it has crashed into a window pane and you care for only until it is ready to fly again.
Here are the poems two middle stanzas:
It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.
It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.
So, yes, it hurts to love wide open, to go against the reflexes of holding tight, fearing change and loss. What will it take to open my hand wide enough for memories to float freely, for the ache in my heart to subside? Old Teachers say that “you cannot let go of something you haven’t accepted.” What have I not yet accepted?
Click here to read the entire poem.