Let It Fly

 In Poems

With Love and Commitment

Those were the words we chose
to have etched on the inside
of our wedding rings.

A four word promise,
a circle that would never be broken.

The day I slipped that ring on your finger,
underneath a live oak in October,
I knew the only prayer I would need
now in life was “Thank you.”
What more could a man
ask of God than this?

The day you left,
the morning you told me
ours was an unbalanced love,
that you could never love me
the way that I loved you,
I stood and stared for hours
at the wedding vows we wrote ourselves,
the handwritten pages framed
and hanging above the bed we shared.

I took the frames down,
shoved them in the bottom of a closet,
and shut the door.

I took my wedding ring off.

That was the first time I said goodbye.

My days became a disappearing act.
Separation is a sad magic show
where you watch your whole life
vanish before your very eyes:
photographs,
furniture,
bank accounts,
the house we would one day
raise our children in.

I said goodbye a thousand times.

I made “Goodbye” my mantra,
repeating it like a holy hymn
but God was not listening.
The only prayer I had left in life
was “Why?”
but God and you were not listening.

I know I seemed so strong.
For all our friends to see.
For all who asked how I was holding up.
They all said I was doing so well.

Not falling apart is a lonely art form.
This heart became a locked door,
bolted for fear of thieves.
But memories are masters
of breaking and entering.
They come in the night
when I’m tossing and turning
in an empty bed.
They bring me your laugh,
the smell of your hair,
the way you said “I love you,”
the way I believed
you meant it.

When did this love story become a ghost story?
When did this marriage become a haunting?

This morning,
eight months since you left,
I drove out to the ocean
to give up the ghost,
to finally let you go.

My wedding ring was in my pocket
the last thing I saved,
the goodbye I could not speak.

Standing by the sea,
I read the words
written on our rings
one last time.

A four word promise,
a circle now broken.

The waves crashed around my feet
and I let it fly.

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