Giordana

When we met

There was a river between us.

Pulling away at the banks.

carrying old trees

along with it.

She asked me,

“Do you think you could love me?”

and I only turned my head.

Watched upstream

For something back there

to flow down to where I was

No, I don’t think I could.

But the river doesn’t slow,

And the further upstream I go,

the further away it pulls and carries her thoughts and feelings and

whatever hopes she held with her for the future.

I walked upstream

Hoping to find that one old tree that I once had to leave behind.

Her question haunts me to this day.

Not because of my answer,

or because I left it hanging in the brisk morning air to freeze and drop into the river.

“Do you think you could love me?”

And I walked the other way.

It haunts me because it is burned into my mind

like a brand of that stubborn sensibility;

She held her hand out to me

So that we could plunge into the river

Together and be carried downstream together.

But I left her to float on

alone, and I walked the other way alone.

When I came to where the old tree had been,

There was only a hole

As it had uprooted, and had itself plunged faithlessly into the river.

Those words still singe my brain even today as I look back to where I had been before

“Do you think you could love me?”