The first time I gave you flowers, a shadow bouquet,
did you mind, did you care? 

I was not shy (far from it, in fact)
but something about you
made me tongue-tied. 
I held out the lavender,
twisted in a bunch,
told you it was for your bureau
where you kept the clothes from home,
the home you no longer had.

The cancer had taken your father,
and you were ours to keep,
every bronze-haired blue-eyed inch of you.
Was it true what they said about you? 
You never said, even when we went riding
together. Even when we went swimming
together in the mill pond
and you dove deep
and captured my foot
and dragged me down with you.

(I’ll drag you down with me. Let me
drag you down with me. I promise
we’ll be like any famous two. Like
the ones at Troy or the ones
who scaled the Hindu Kush.)

But at the end of the day, I did not know
if you would mind, if you would care,
to be a shadow on the wall till the day you died.
If you could be resigned
to live life in shadows and shadow bouquets
and secrecy and whispers. 

Climb the tower of my heart. Scale
its walls. Find a place to hide inside
and don’t tell me you’re there. Penetrate
my defenses but don’t let me know. Break
my spirit until you’re sure
I’d bleed out for you
and follow you down.
And drag me down.
Drag me down,
a shadow
reflected
in me.

a shadow in the distance
a shadowed window

Poet’s Notes

I’ve drawn on two famous examples in this poem, though they might be hard to catch. You don’t have to catch them to understand the poem. But you can read more poetry based on one of these examples — check out my poems “In the Garden” and “Through the Pass.

And if you’re loving my work, I’d really appreciate if you left me a tip on Ko-fi so I can keep creating as much as possible for you. Thank you, as always, for reading!

a shadowed window

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