to love and let go again and again

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch, to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor's buttons blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

[Marge Piercy {1936- }, 'To Have Without Holding', from The Moon is Always Female]


  1. Seriously, knocking my socks off, like, every day. These poems are magical, or maybe it's because the part of my brain that receives poetry is tuned in again. Either way, it's really nice, and thank you. Btw, I did have to research the origin of "knock my socks off" before over-using it because I'm a language dork and those kinds of things matter in my world.

    1. Sometimes the poems come more easily than others, just like when writing and the words flow (or won't come for anything!). This is my tenth year of posting a poem each day of April, and I think that I'm just starting to get a handle on how to do it. :)