Learning Curve

Some days you are suspended
like scales between sorrow and joy
left clinging to past loves and longing
for new ones. Unsure what the day holds
you hang out in Starbucks with strangers
sipping viente vanilla bean frappucino
savoring its sweetness, wishing
the barista hadn’t added whipped cream
like you asked because you can’t afford
the calories, even though you spent
the last two hours at the gym
getting sweaty, gazing at muscle and sinew
of strange men in clingy, tight shorts, wondering
if each one could be the next reason
you pack everything you own in your truck
for the fifth time.


The gates of your heart were flung open
When you spoke to him
by the dance floor
And he smiled and it
felt good to know
in that crowded, smoky room
he saw only you
But you spent the next nine years, trying
To recapture that feeling
when all along you knew
In the end you’d be left
with random photos, an uneasy feeling
and your cat


You still remember the night you first kissed
the new guy, how he left you feeling
like you had been beneath the surface
of a very warm lake, holding your breath
for hours until your weightless body buoyed
upward, breathless, air rushing into your lungs, he
taught you patience, showed you
relationships need not be based on orgasms and sweat, that
passion is something you feel in your mind
not your prick or your toes


Much of your pain is self-chosen
clinging to what was or could be
gives rise to suffering, leaves you
With the results of what was inevitable
All along, you are suspended
Like scales between sorrow and joy, know
the secrets of your heart and know
that when you skip a rock
Across the surface of a lake
It will bounce and rise and fall
and splash before it sinks
Into the lake bed and the decaying
Matter of microorganisms, algae, and aquatic insects
The remains of life that line the sediment
of the cloudy, murky

                                                                -Ken Harmon