Ashley Wilda


Page 2 of 18


the third time I see you

I know you’re coming

the third time I see you

I’m there on purpose

the third time I see you

sobs don’t burst out of me

like frightened sparrows

the third time I see you

I’m shaking all over

as I slip past on bare feet

like my molecules are vibrating

with the tension of keeping

a universe of love and pain inside


I feel like a ghost

lost to myself

lost to you

projecting a face

only I

can see through

I need a locus

an anchor

someone to make

life solid again

yet these invisible eyes

can’t seem to focus

on anyone else

p.s. (don’t ask my mother)

I wish I could wear a sign that says

‘not available

it’s complicated’

and everyone would just accept

my hope

and not tell me to just

‘move on already,

here’s my number’

I Spy

I’m used to seeing you everywhere

that you’re not

so it’s weird seeing you here

in real life

avoiding my gaze

and not knowing whether it’s less painful

to stay and look

or leave


and so I compromise–

you walk in the door

I look once

I leave


if you ever want me to stay

all you have to do

is look back


I dreamed last night

of your hands in my hair

we risked one touch

an object handed off

from one to the other

and we broke open

the wall came down

and we let our wanting


a degree

the world just feels

a little more lonely

a shade colder

when two people

who love each other

stop speaking


I wish I could forget who I am

and slip body and soul

into the books whose pages

I caress with my fingertips

inked scribbles that carry me

through dark stretches of night

I wish I could keep the feeling

of being loved by you

and lose everything else

falling deep into a tornado

of whirlwind colors and laughing danger

living all the stories I once wished

were mine


the event starts at 10:30

and I’m ready to go to bed.

heck, I know¬† I’m like an old granny

but that’s my bedtime now– 10:30


not later than 11:30

and I’ll sleep as long as sleep lets me

10 hours, 12, 13

either that or I won’t sleep well at all

fitful nights and too early mornings.

you were always the early bird.

I was always the night owl.

I miss how we used to make

compromises for each other

you more than I.

I’m not the kid who could stay up

all night lying in the grass

looking up at the stars

talking to you.

if you were here, I could do it again.

on my own I only want to do

the living that happens in my dreams

where no one tells me things are


but if you called me up tonight

asked me to come out on that green

I’d do it. no questions. no answers.

just the two of us

and the sky.


at work my favorite place

is in the back where I can

submerge my hands in the

warm dishwater and not

talk to anybody.

in the front the music that I

used to listen to reminds me of

brick walkways and dusky green

and you

and the essence of those moments

slips into my soul and I


this is just another moment

when I know I could never

stop loving you

even if I wanted to.


I keep telling myself

love in the absence of someone is not


love in the absence of someone is not


people keep telling me I can’t

love you and be happy

but I keep insisting that they’re wrong

all the while hiding in my room telling myself

I’m not waiting for you to rescue me

I feel like it’s possible to love you

while one day, in the future

not now, heaven knows

to be happy

it has to be

but I honestly don’t know how

when the missing echoes

echoes inside even when

I’m trying not to pay it any attention

and as hard as I try not to

ask myself the unanswerable question

I do–

how in the world does this feel

to you?

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