Hold.

There is something telling about holding eye contact.

It wasn’t a happenstance glance across the room or the light catching your gaze.

It is specific eyes that are sought.

Something earth shattering in sitting through fluorescent light, dusty haze.

A fleeting look turned to thick cement. Carefully laid.

A kind of power brewing in the static between the locked brown eyed stare.

A glance is a lovely flutter but a holding look? It is everything that is and isn’t there.

Us.

There isn’t a way to entirely explain the oxymoron that is this.

How completely consumed by fire I am by everything between us that is.

How calm I can be while my heart races with flames. But somehow, inexplicably, you are peace. I am more than this body, this name.

Your gravity is the orbit I’ve been guided back to.

Celestial stones with the Universe’s synchronized magnitude.

Trapped.

I get myself tangled in the knots of my very own hair.

I don’t know how to get out without you fighting off the snarling beast trying to keep my in its snare.

I didn’t know I had trauma that settled in deep. That I kept me from being able to always be me.

I didn’t know that I kept too much on ice in my head. Or that I did everything to keep it from you that I possible can.

Don’t let the Devil’s Snare pull you in. A little light and it will relinquish the lack of air it brings.

Please see that I’m choking myself and I’m trying to get up off my cowardly knees.

I keep it all in.

Don’t leave me.

Safe.

Adrift in sleep,

In and out with the rain

I’m covered with a blanket

And gifted with the sound of my own name.

He keeps me

And I am safe.

Almost asleep and I know

He’ll keep the monsters away.

The largest hands slip into mine

And I am safe

To drift

Infinitely into rhymes.

“Me.”

A broken record, a repetitious sound, that always present bird every morning letting you know the world is still going ‘round.

I will repeat the verses. I will beat these sentiments deep into the ground.

I didn’t know love before him. I didn’t know safe until he came around.

Sink into vulnerable and melt into ease. When I’m too afraid of tears he simply says, “Natalie, it’s me.”

“Me,” is safety. “Me,” is the soul protected by the body that will always give me warmth. “Me,” is the counterpart that will keep each particle of me free. He is the first safety net I’ve ever felt safe enough to need.

I love when he says, “Natalie, it’s me.”

Accompaniment.

You are a puzzle. The labyrinth. A work of art I step back to examine to truly see.

You own me.

You are the periphery glance. The dancing lights off the window.

The repeating numbers at the right time to let me know.

The notes I’ve been hearing in my head since childhood. I tried but I couldn’t compose them into more than rhyming words.

You’re the symphony I’ve been hearing for decades. The crescendos and pianissimos. The perfect vibratos.

A composer who hears in his head more than just the notes.

A lyricist, a poet, a synchronized foil for a singer who needs someone to understand the notes that she sings.

You are the melody. And I, I am the harmony.

Effortless.

I had learned that there were conditions when being loved by a man.

I had been conditioned to believe that it wasn’t their job to try and understand.

I had learned that love was one forever needing the upper hand.

I unlearned bad habits as he only says what he means.

I unlearned that I am supposed to conceal the messier parts of me.

I learned that simply being myself makes him love me ever so effortlessly.

Seen.

Strong, beautiful, bold.

Kind and wonderfully whole. Everything I always wanted to be.

Hoping to truly one day be seen.

Eyes that can be closed and see past any fog and into the soul.

A Seen that, truthfully, most people will never ever know.

We try to walk in the light, ignore all our shadows, merely settle down and get by.

But the way my tendrils have always reached for the sky, and somehow manage to always have stars in my eyes, I’ve always known settling is for those whose souls are too tired to fight.

In other rooms, other cities, other states, thirty-two years of age.

An oddity, a hold out, too much for too many smaller hands.

I am seen. So many go forever without a soul who understands.

And, oh, oh does he see me. Oh, does he know me.

Sweet Jupiter knew,

So he sent me you.

Bourbon.

Those amber shots of bourbon that take in every inch of me get me drunk on spontaneous Thursday nights.

The ones that are warm and deep, that pack a punch with no threat of a fight.

Your bourbon eyes take off the edge and burn down my throat.

Your distillery is the very place I call home.

Golden liquor that leaves me drunker than I’ve ever been.

Oh, Darling, I’ll take you shot after shot. Again and again. And again.