Untitled from Tampa Bay

by Virginia Winters-Troche

last autumn i was watching the leaves fall
and i was thinking if leaves could do it
so could i, so i decided to fall in love
give myself away like the sun,
I could make someone less lonely even if that someone wasn’t me,
thinking every other thought how much i miss my mother,
browsing OKcupid but mostly watching television
snuggled up in a blanket,
wishing there was a man who would want to hold me.

i wasn’t looking for anyone to take care of me,
but three weeks after our first date i had fallen
like a leaf into love, dancing to the ground,
waiting for the next wind of his words to
pick me up and spin me again,
wondering if loving a man would finally
              make me feel like a woman.
he made the world half as heavy, just sitting next to me,
watching television,
wishing i had the chance to introduce him to my mother.

when he introduced me to his mother,
i knew he had no intention of forgetting me,
something i had only seen on television,
in made up lives with made up love stories
with actresses who weren’t nearly so heavy.
and when he looked at me
i felt light as the last leaf to fall,
perfect as a snowstorm that keeps you
snuggled in a blanket, still.

one day, instead of telling me i was perfect
he asked me what it meant to be perfect
he asked me what does it mean to fall in love
what does it mean to feel heavy
so i asked him to hold me,
and i told him about my mother.
it didn’t feel like television.

quarter to midnight on new year’s eve
we turned off the television
and we held each other
no longer man and woman
we were two people in love
and two people in love are just bodies
born out of love,
the mother that holds us when we are alone.
he told me a story to put me to sleep
about a person that would take care of me
and i slept, my chest, my head, my eyelids
heavy—his arm around my body a fallen leaf.

my mother used to write every morning
our ground apartment always smelled
like coffee and the bay, sweet pea body spray
and lysol. she walked me to my bus stops
and sometimes was sober when i got home.
in real life stories don’t end, and
if they can’t keep going they just start spinning
around in your head, in the grocery store
when you pass the lysol, in the café
where you write poetry and someone
smells like your mother, and i know
the tragedy of the spinning story,
the leaf that never quite falls.
i’m glad that’s not me, not yet,
and it’s not him—not yet.
i’m happy to hit the ground,
heavy, twisting, heavy,
spinning, heavy


Category: Featured, Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing