I have been having an absolute blast here in Santa Fe. My poetry teacher, Robert Cording, author of five books of poetry, has been warm and encouraging, instructive and critical. He and I ended up having a lot in common, and because of that I have gotten the opportunity to spend more than just class and meal time with him. In one class we discussed sentimentality and how we undercut topics like love in order to make experience more authentic. He challenged our class to not get to sappy in our writing. Just for fun, I decided to read this little story at our open-mic night. Robert loved it. We had some great one on one time after, talking about our love for hating school and love to write about…love. It was great. Here is what I read, an edited version of something I wrote a while back.
We Ignored It
The muffled sounds of the city fell soft, like January snow, on our wind-reddened and wool-covered ears. We plodded along through the frozen city tundra—beneath white-capped buildings, past manicured bushes polished by ice, underneath snowy brides and up slippery glaciers covering concrete—post-holing through the streets.
The endless rows of faded-orange moons held up by gothic style lampstands illuminated our walk. Our feet fractured the plastic surface of the snow, cracking a stained glass window pattern. We wondered about that sound our shoes made as they punched through the thin freezing layer of frost that slept on top of the powder below.
It was a wordless sound, impossible to name. We tried but metaphors and onomatopoeia escaped us. Like this walk. Like our talks, the handholding, or the kissing—we didn’t know what to call it.
We kept walking, through the frozen world, slowly and in step, filling the soundless air with other words as we broke through the solidified snow beneath our feet.
My gloveless hands sought shelter inside my coat pockets, leaving an inviting, sliver of space between my arm and body. Maybe it was the need to stay sturdy while walking the slick streets; maybe the instinct to seek warmth, I’ll never know, but her hand slipped subtlety into the opening and settled comfortably around my arm.
And so I wondered—about what holding on meant as we continued in silence. Arm in arm, our footprints following close behind us in the lamplight —I wondered.
That’s how our walk continued. I felt around in my pocket for the oily coffee beans, the half-frozen dark chocolate, and the squeaky plastic wrap covering a mint; three secret ingredients I wanted to hide under my tongue, creating the taste of her favorite Starbucks coffee drink, a peppermint mocha Latte, and on this snowy evening a perfect seasonal kiss.
But I ignored it—the want for one mocha kiss on her soft lips.
I ignored the want for a long-term kiss, the kind that lingers in your stomach and memory, urging you to wonder about future kisses.
I ignored everything I knew could be better than creative kisses: late night walks like these, holding on meaning something more than balance and body heat, fingers laced instead of our arms. I ignored it all—talking until the sun comes up, being in the snow, being together.
Before we stepped back into the warmth of her apartment she let go of my arm and smiled at me.
I wondered—and then ignored that too.