The war council convenes around a campfire.
Sal says, Good effing riddance.
Larry says, Burn her letters tonight.
Colin says, Get under someone else.
Brie says, Lock that door and throw the key in a lake.
Claire says, Let's all get naked and jump in a lake
of beer and forgetfulness.
Paul never has this problem
because he doesn't let feelings burden him—
he moves through the world lightly, leaving it all behind
like a trail of greasy old takeout bags and unclaimed dog crap.
When the grown-ups have exhausted
their sense and shifted into rambling
sermons and grunts and thoughtful swigs,
I remember my child has been tugging
at my sleeve waiting to speak for some time.
I love her, he says, and I'm you.
I'm the part of you that loves.
You can't hate me and love yourself.
He's right. I've been trying to fight
my way out the way I came in.
Falling in love is like falling into an unmarked well
on an abandoned farmstead, breaking through
rotten boards and watching the circle of light
containing everything known and understood shrink
from your grasp. Seeing your heart break
is like falling in love. You're walled in
with stale, suffocating darkness. It's hell.
Climbing out would be an act
of struggle, a battle against the heart's gravitation
demanding strength and indomitable will
and ending with a victorious fist pump or a dance
on the grave of an enemy—but who, exactly?
He's right. You can't go back. There are sights
in this life you can't unsee. On the day you open
your eyes wide enough to notice
another human being, she becomes forever
a living member of your heart. The only way to freedom
is to keep falling—deeper into darkness, deeper into love
for the child in you who simply loves,
farther from the circle of lighted certainty,
farther from your old ground.
Soon the well's walls are widening, and possibilities open
into measureless expanse, and you keep falling.
Falling is no longer something that happens.
It's a state of being, it's heaven,
the uncharted ground where you plant
your footsteps. Surrendering, you reclaim freedom