Catherine Friesen

At a wedding with you after breaking up

and I recognize this is not the first time
I have made a poor decision.
Others include but are not limited to
running headlong into traffic
by moonlight and listening to advice and
not doing this sooner.
But here we are at someone else’s wedding
and I have to remind myself
I’m just passing through.

In the meantime: what do I do with
my hands? They vibrate at my sides
like dying birds, eager to take flight
but finding no air. Loneliness sits
in the chair between us and regret enters
through the back door and
I do not want to be here;
we do not love each other
the way we both need it and you look
anywhere else but my face
when once, your eyes would follow me anywhere
I disappeared: through the front door,
down the street, into the dense woods
at the border of town.

To make it through I tell myself
I will go there after and that there is always
an after. My waiting room of a heart
will take me, fishtailing
between taking the first step and
getting back in my car and
driving until I can escape
my insatiable doubt.

In the end
I will step over the boundary
and plunge into the woods
and I will not stop
until I have to. I will lie
down in the moss and stay
until the moon rises above me
and I need to feel my way out,
one faltering footstep at a time.

When I return, I’ll have found
pieces of me that were
missing:
tenacity and
my ravenous heart and
common sense.
I will bring them back with me,
suture them in place
with the care of the mother
I was not meant to be
and they will stay there, mending
until I can once again
call myself whole.

About the Author

Catherine Friesen is a writer, editor, sometimes illustrator, and all-around nature lover living on the side of a mountain. They hold a BA in both psychology and creative writing and are currently working through art therapy grad school. Publication credits include Dovecote, Plentiude, Augur Magazine, Luna Magazine, Raspberry Magazine, Louden Singletree, The Cascade Zine, and Morning Fruit Magazine. They live in Canada.