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  • since feeling is first, e.e. cummings

    since feeling is first
    who pays any attention
    to the syntax of things
    will never wholly kiss you;
    wholly to be a fool
    while Spring is in the world

    my blood approves,
    and kisses are a better fate
    than wisdom
    lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
    --the best gesture of my brain is less than
    your eyelids' flutter which says

    we are for each other: then
    laugh, leaning back in my arms
    for life's not a paragraph

    And death i think is no parenthesis

    He told me once, please don't ever write about me and share it publicly. I said, ok, yeah, sure.

    At the time he probably knew that I could not be trusted, being less disciplined in most ways than he is and much more inclined to spill my guts. It's why I love him and maybe why he loves me and why we find each other so exasperating and alluring. He's this steady line, and I'm a spastically zig-zagging one; in temperament he's Atticus--fundamentally gentle and exceptionally principled--and I'm Scout--hot headed with a big heart. Of course in that analogy he is a father-figure, and that's far from our dynamic. We are most certainly lovers. And, like lovers do, we fret sometimes about our differences, about our love having too much heat or else not enough.

    Except we're not really lines or characters in a novel or by any means narrow or flat. We are Jill and Brian. One day we will die.

    We're not terribly unique in our mortality or our similarities, differences, anxieties, or joys. No doubt the story of us resembles in form and color and texture so many narratives of love found, love lost, and love struggled for. There's truth and beauty and comfort in that and in the small details that are our very own.

    And it's those smallest details that I lean into most, that fill me with love and light and life. What I mean:

    -On mornings after we've spent the night together, the alarm will buzz, which is a signal for him to curl around me so that I can feel his heart beating against me, his breath in my ear. If I am the big spoon, sometimes my fingers will circle his belly until they connect with his bellybutton, and I feel as if I've gotten closer to something deep inside. Perhaps the soul resides in the navel.

    -If he understands anything about me, he understands my need to trim my cuticles. Cuticles being a metaphor for so much. My pursuit of order in the face of relentless unruliness is one he understands and accepts without judgement. He could remind me of what I already know--that cuticles always grow back with a vengeance and that life is rife with mystery and unpredictability and strange disappointments--but he does not. He wrests that little cuticle-cutting tool from my impatient hand and tenderly takes on the work of restoration.

    -I have this habit of walking confidently in the wrong direction. We'll approach a corner and I'll veer left without the slightest clue as to whether left is, well, right. He finds this bold and endearing and laughs as he steers me back toward him, toward where we are meant to go.

    One day we will reach the end, of life eventually and perhaps each other before that. For now, we live--in the love and light these small details miraculously afford. We laugh, leaning back into one another, veering this way and that, pursuing soul in unexpected places.
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