I ate. I ached. And, after a while, I accepted all that I am.
I breathed (a lot), bathed (surprisingly frequently!) and
             basked in the stillness of this borrowed time.
I cried (also a lot), cooked for myself when I wanted to,
             and chewed handfuls of arugula when I didn’t.
I danced. Actually and essentially, which was necessary.
             I doubted myself almost as much as I dreamed.
             But I didn’t define myself by defeat.
I said enough.
             And I said endless.
             And I ended up writing 49 poems – in 2 months. Some of them good.
             None of them edited.
I found freedom in the face of fear & friends in unfamiliar places.
             Plus, I frequented family.
I gave up at times & gave in often. But, mostly, I just gave myself permission
             to be generous, gracious, and gentle with myself.
I held space for the unknown & made space for my heart.
             And, I have to say, I haven’t looked back.
I insisted on simplicity & invented infinite new ways
             to take in the same quiet days.
I joked that I was lucky –
But I’m not kidding –
I AM lucky.
             I am lucky to love, lucky to laugh, lucky to let go,
             lucky to latch on, lucky to live this life letter by letter,
             line by line.
Moreover, I meditated. And made time matter. I stretched it out
            and found myriad waypoints for relief along every measured mark.
I napped naked and, one night, I nearly burned down the apartment.
             But, needless to say, I didn’t.
I organized my thoughts & opened myself up,
             over & over again, to something new.
I privately promised myself I’d make myself proud –
             not perfect – but persistent.
I queered. I quieted. I queried everything.
             And, along the way, I quelled a lot of fears.
I received roses upon roses upon roses & read reams
            upon reams of poetry to make sense of each thorn.
I sat still. Seriously.
             And I strived to soften.
             And I kept myself simple so I’d be ready for more softening.
             I even took to getting soft serve ice cream to secure my salvation.
I took long walks in the tulips & talked to myself & tried
             to steal tiny dogs to take off the edge.
I understood my mom a bit more, unpacked the unsavory, & uncovered
             the underpinning of what we undergo
             to undo.
I variously vacillated on the value of vows against the
             very velocity of validation.
I wrote & wrote & wrote, while all the while watching & waiting &
             wrestling with what we won’t ever have words to widen.
I examined the x-factor that makes / or breaks a relationship,
             what it means to exit / or exist, & the weight
             of an e/x as a viable variable.
I said yes more often than I said no
             because of yoga, because of the color yellow,
             because of you. Always You.
And I zeroed in on what’s essentially important:
When we strip away the extraneous, down to the elemental,
             to the eerie moment before pen touches paper,
             when even words have not yet collected in the throat
             & are still but letters, lightly flung & equally weighted,
             an alphabet of emerging possibilities,
             outstretched before me in all their
                                                     for that