Ashley Wilda


Author: ashley (page 1 of 25)


Some things change.
Things you don’t know about.
Things I wish I could tell you.

I have a dog now.
I adopted her in March, back when
She was a red-brown ball of three-month old fur
Big paws
Brown eyes.
I admit, I adopted her selfishly
I was tired of being alone
Of always being let down and misunderstood
Of being incapable of opening myself to other people.
Yeah, it was selfish. But I gave her
What love I have, and to her
It is more than enough.
Now- sixty pounds of muscle and love
Nibbles and licks
Pulling me out of the depths of myself
When I can’t stand being me
She anchors me in a world
I’m always lost in.

Some things change,
Like being done with school
Like being a professor
Like having seventy-five students of my own
Like being a coach
And having forty kids of my own, all
Stronger than me-
The impostor syndrome is real
But it’s too good to give up.
Things change, like making more art
Than I used to
Driving to faraway places by myself
Going to a different church than my family
Being more independent, but also more alone.

Some things change-
I don’t know
Where you are
How you are doing
Who your friends are
Where you’re working
What you’re studying
(If anything at all)
If you still miss me-
I wish this hadn’t changed.

Some things change, but some things…
I still miss you
Every day
Just as much.
A constant like the brightening
And darkening
Of the sky
The cycle of dandelions
Bursting gold
And going to seed.
Like my breath.

I had a dream last night.
I held you, you held me
We tried to let go
But we couldn’t
Because we didn’t want to.

Have you ever head a dream
That felt more real
Than your reality?
Mine are always like that-
Asleep or awake.

Things I wish would change:
The word “impossible”
Dreams that stay
Just dreams.


once you asked if you could read the notebook I was writing about us.

I said maybe. someday. some of it.                 you never did.

one year later I find myself compiling the outpourings of my heart.

over one year from then, I find myself with a book.

it is not always pretty. it is sometimes beautiful. it is always true. and it is always, always, about love.

but this one poem, from that very first journal… it’s not in there. it’s just for you. so here it is.



how we say i love you


happy trees

and baby thumbs

backward eight knots

and who pours their syrup wrong

terms of endearment –

you silly goose –

and teasing little arguments

(who really did

knock over the projector


fill me with giggles

and skip through class-filled

afternoon days

your finger’s mischievous


on my nose

lighting up my life for always.


on this day

I wish you

clear skies

the sun on your skin

a brave heart

steady feet

a true smile

and – selfishly –

your hand in mine


once upon a time

you told me a story.

you said it felt like I was asking you

to pack your suitcase

and travel to the city I lived in

but you didn’t know if you would ever

make it there.

maybe I’m a fool.

maybe I’m crazy.

maybe I’ve screwed up one

too many times.

but I’m going to give you the same

answer now.

I will pack my suitcase with you

and go wherever you go

even if you never make it to my city

I won’t leave you behind

as long as you’re trying

as long as we go together.

maybe you never cared like I thought

you did–

but when I said I love you

I meant it.

I don’t care if we are always travelling

as long as I get to do it

with you.

just take the chance.

what do we have to lose?

wish with me

another year, another

set of candles on

another cake —

(I’ve heard that birthday wishes




come true?) —

I make the wish for the third time.




— (I’ve heard that occasionally

just incidentally


the wish you make with one

breath, has a chance?) —

you want me to stop

wishing it, want me to stop

hoping it, praying it

wasting my breath on

dandelions and too faint flames and

bare footsteps in the night-dew

grass under the stars, wishing…

but I can’t help wishing

just like I can’t help breathing

because to stop wishing




would be to stop being


(have you heard it too? that

once upon a time, in a land

far far away, perhaps

on a star with a boy

and a fox

and a rose



come true?)


I’ve gotten pretty good at crying

and driving.


Somehow walking out the door

after you walk in

doesn’t get any easier.

I’m angry, and it surprises me.

I’m never angry.

But still, I’m not angry

at you.

I would never have left you the way

you left me–

but you thought we were impossible.

I would go through any pain for you. Die for you. Do

anything to reach you.

You–wouldn’t. But I don’t think it’s because

you decided I wasn’t enough–I just think you didn’t

know how.

I am angry. Not at you.

Just hurting.

Because I love you.

And it hurts you too much

to look at me.


Here’s the trick to crying and driving–

you pretend it’s blurry because it’s raining

because it always is.

to the day

two years ago.

two years ago, to the day.

we climbed on two vans on a misty morning

and drove for the mountains.

it was cold. in the backseat I laid my head

on your shoulder. I was happy.

that night, we sat on the creaky steps surrounded

by handprints, red and yellow and blue, cradled steaming

mugs of tea and whispered as the rest settled into sleep

stacked into bunks and sprawled on mattresses.

we were happy just to be with each other, to sit and breathe

and be and know we were wanted by someone that mattered.

we asked important questions in the quiet. we would ask even more

important questions later. we would cross terrifying, beautiful

lines that could not be uncrossed.

by the end of the week, I knew that I loved you.

to be honest, I knew long before then.

two years ago.

two years ago, to the day.

I love you still.

in progress: a study

clay on my hands, grey, cold

colder than expected, pleasant

against my skin. wedge the clay, palms

squishing it into itself, spiral, spiral

fold, drop, toss into a ball, hand to hand

pat pat, pat pat. slam onto center

of the wheel, wham down twice

with my palm. start the wheel

dip my hands in the water, luke-

warm, cup the clay and squeeze

squeeze, squeeze–fingers pressing

pulling it up, up into a shaking cone

pushing it back down, down, side

of my right hand pressing, left

hand supporting. thumbs press down, in

rhythm, slow, not too thin, not too

fast. pull out, pull up, knuckle braced

on thumb, fingers slowly grasping

caressing the earth into fluid

motion, making something out of

something that was once

something that was once

nothing that was breathed into

life a long, long time ago.

it is not easy this, spinning

balance, this finding the still point

exactly in the middle

and shaping everything around it

centered. it tips and wobbles and

lurches beyond repair and I

squish it all into a shapeless lump

and start again, clay squishing between

my fingers, until something

emerges, something that has

worth, something I can make

beautiful. but I guess this raw earth

this handful of cool, grey clay

has worth by simply being

by simply having the potential

to be something more–

and so it already is.

this is the first thing I’ve learned

for me and only

me and I breathe and it calms

the always unsteady sea inside

of me. and yet as I press and

smooth and cup and

shape, as my fingers glide over

nothing becoming

something, I cannot help but

think of you

and think of how I can’t help

wanting to give you something


continue: a portrait

every so often

I sit down


I’m tired

I’m so

so tired–

and it’s true.

I cry.

quietly, usually

loudly, sometimes

hug myself tight


because I won’t

let anyone else

do it for me.

I dry my eyes.

I get up.

I walk.

I tell no one.


I’ve gotten so used

to doing things alone

I’d rather continue

to do them alone

eat and wash and

work and make

walk and sleep and

cry and pray.

I’m tired of being with others

always wishing they were you

easier to be alone than keep

my armor up, make sure they can’t

come too close, arm’s length

double is better

easier to live alone without

others’ emotions messing with mine

touching the tender places

bumping up against walls

they don’t even know are there

that I won’t take down.

You say don’t wait

But I can’t in the ways

You want me to.

I want a brighter life

I will reach, I am

reaching for it

There are glimmers

I am relearning to savor

things that are sweet.

But there are limits–

I’d rather be alone than with

someone who isn’t you.

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