December 26, 2012

to sit on a high, leafless branch

I've spent my entire life believing things that aren't true. For instance:

Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand.*

Camels don't store extra water in their humps.

Possums don't hang from branches by their tails.

Porcupines don't shoot their quills at attackers.

And the real biggie:

Not all love stories have happy endings. This is the lie that pisses me off the most, perpetrated as it is by every fucking romantic comedy ever. Yeah, boy meets girl, and after a series of missteps, they end up together. That part is true enough often enough to get a pass from me.

But the ones where someone falls out of love, and the jilted one never gives up hope, and then the jilter has a change of heart and comes back, because they're realized that they really do still love the jilted?


It doesn't happen that way.

So where's the movie that shows a happy couple, in a long-term relationship with all the inherent ups and downs that real relationships have, and then one of them leaves and never comes back? Where the jilted manages to get her life back together, but the leaver stays gone, because she's really done, over it, fini? 

I'd watch that movie.

To have loved
is everything,
I loved, once,

a hummingbird
who came every afternoon–
the freedom-loving male–

who flew by himself
to sample
the sweets of the garden,

to sit
on a high, leafless branch
with his red throat gleaming.

And then, he came no more.
And I’m still waiting for him,
ten years later,

to come back,
and he will, or he will not.
There is a certain commitment

that each of us is given,
that has to do
with another world,

if there is one.
I remember you, hummingbird.
I think of you every day

even as I am still here,
soaked in color, waiting
year after honey-rich year

-Mary Oliver, Empty Branch In The Orchard
*(See for yourself.)

(and in case you're wondering, yes, i still believe in love.)


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