The Cardinals’ chirps announce their return
to feeders outside sliding glass doors.
Fresh October air kisses my face
with memories I want to
dive into and dismiss:
The October my Labrador Phoenix and
I stayed with my boyfriend Kevin
at his house in the country
with a view of the river and
trees thick like an autumn rainbow.
Mornings sat us at his new, suited-for-two round table
With coffee made for and served to each other.
Kevin crossed his long basketball-star legs and
Pointed out birds I never noticed.
He knew their names and identifying characteristics.
In those moments, we were an old couple together.
I could grow old with this man, my mate.
We were Fire & Ice; Crazy, Sexy, Cool.
We added a thousand memories
After our colorful fall that felt like
I’d finally found a home for my soul.
March of 2016 took my beloved
like a kidnapper in the night,
by complete surprise.
His heart stopped
in the center of our love story,
that began with
invested in telling tales
About men and women we dated, married and divorced.
About jobs we worked since the one where we met,
Stories told over miles he and I drove separately.
So often we spoke for hours with one of us on the road.
He ran sales appointments and I drove between MN and OH
To see my sister, whose husband was dying of cancer.
How did I forget that Kevin carried me through those conversations
where my heart was breaking for my sister and brother-in-law and nephews?
Kevin encouraged me to stay with my sister after her husband—and then the cat—died.
And besides, the guy I lived with strutted the pilot stereotype he denied.
Kevin said, “Icey, you’ve got to get out of there.”
Always direct with each other: the kind of friendship I value.
Direct and the freedom to disagree. Respect and acceptance
Built a foundation for our deeper-than-either-of-us-had-ever-been intimacy.
We’d each tried to create a sacred, harmonious relationship with others,
But never got it right. Until we did.
Kevin and I knew what we had the way children know to play in water.
The same way Cardinals know when the feeder is full
And my heart knows it’s fall, when crisp air,
Color, fog, birds and memories collide.
And I smile.