I am standing in my kitchen making dinner for a lover
and suddenly I am overcome
it’s not the onions making me cry, this is real, deep sobbing,
I’m leaning against the counter with all my weight
so I don’t fall over holding the 10″ chef knife;

My brain wants to make up a story about it,
that it’s thinking about how the lover who is coming for dinner
is talking seriously, with her husband, about moving out of the country, for good,
whether or not the narcissicist-in-chief is reelected, that the bigotry and hatred
that is so evident in our country, that was hidden before, is too much for them,
and they are going on mini-vacations over the next few years
to check out different places to possibly live and see if they could do that,
and I know if they move I will see her maybe for a while on Skype
but it will be too hard and sad for both of us and we will drift apart;

or my brain wants to take me to why I don’t have pets now,
how I had to stand there by the vet’s table while my snuggle cat Artemis
was euthanized and before that my Bubba and my Otis and my Flea
or I had to see my Ditto-cat shivering in a cage at the vet’s clinic
who fucking didn’t treat his injuries and all my rage couldn’t reverse
what that asshole vet did fully on purpose to try to sell me
on expensive surgeries and procedures that wouldn’t have done anything,
all those things coming up in memory, knowing I can’t bear
to have another animal-love die; or it’s the dreams I have sometimes
way too often, too realistic, and too frightening, dreams of complete loss,
of standing in the cemetery at my Beloved’s family ranch,
standing at her grave with her siblings and dearest friends,
not knowing what happened, inconsolable;

or it’s the real-world, solid grief, of missing my brother
who died in 2008 of a sudden massive heart attack
while stoned, sitting in his hot tub, getting a blow-job
from his second trailer-trash wife who had to be SURE
my elderly mother with dementia knew those details,
and fuck, when I die, getting a stoned blowjob in the hot tub
wouldn’t be the worst way to go, except, I’ll have to get a hot tub first;
so he went happy, but I am still angry at him
for not taking better care of his health because I need him here, now, to talk to,
I am already older than he was when he died and he always accepted me
just as I was, and I know he still would, and there are days
where I need to know someone is out there who does.

My brain tries to make up all these stories about the grief
because that’d what brains do
but the grief isn’t about anything
some of it is older than me, inherited
some is just my anxiety magnified infinitely
so I simply stand there until my chest opens a little
and the tears stop and my heart is back to something like normal.

My lover will be arriving soon.
I think: vulnerability turns her on a lot,
maybe if I’m still crying I’ll get laid.
When I text her this, after the fact the day
I am writing this, she said: sorry you didn’t get laid.
I said, Princess, your head on my shoulder
was what I needed last night, and no more.
I think: it’s so easy to mistake boundaries for rejection
when she needs time alone, I feel cut off
when I need time alone, I don’t even need to explain
but I do and fuck it up
because I”m not being true to myself,
I’m trying to fit my need for quiet and solitude
into a framework not meant for that,
and maybe I can just say: tonight, I am enough
I am not broken, I care for you,
but my need is to be my own primary.

All that is going through my brain, leaning
against the counter, holding the freshly-sharpened knife.

slowly, ever so slowly, everything unclenches, the joy I have almost always now,
joy at being alive, joy at being in love, creeps back in, pushing grief ahead of it
like the tide pushing shells and rocks up the sand at the beach, and maybe, even,
just barely maybe, and I think this because hope is always hovering
over my shoulder in the same space where my connection to everything resides,
maybe they weren’t tears of grief at all but joy-tears, tears for all the beauty
I have in my life, so that I seriously need to ponder and uncover why
my brain goes to sadness as it’s default, because I have more joy
than I ever would have thought possible just three years ago:
deeply-connected lovers, new possibilities for more of the same,
women and men, some more closely connected already than others,
expanding each of my edges;

As I dry my cheek I realize they were cool tears, not burning ones,
cool water to wash away the silly distractions of the day that I got caught up in,
so that when my love arrives I am really, finally, completely here.
All this slides away as I hear her key turning in the lock.
In the end, only joy matters.

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