To Ask a Mountain Why

She is a mountain of a woman. I’m watching her while her eyes flicker back and forth underneath her eyelids, and only in this form is it obvious to me. I know from experience she can’t be roused, so I take the opportunity to gently stroke her shoulders, arms, and cheeks. She is truly mountainous in her being; robust in her ways of thinking, decisive in her actions, consistent in her application of self… I gently stroke her shoulders, arms, and cheeks, and I think…

“This is the only time I am allowed to be gentle with you.”

I think back and try to remember. Has it all always lacked the room to be tender? I can’t understand if something has changed, or if it is me who is different. I have come back to the same place, which as a rule I never do, and even without expectation that I fit the same way… I’ve found it impossible to sit still. I cannot seem to enjoy the things that are different here, because I’m consumed by the things that are the same.

The ocean, with it’s rhythmic, boundless waves. The smell of the thick air, the moisture on tile floors, the endless mind-numbing liquids in and in and in… the setting sun, the beginning again.

I’m entrapped in nostalgia, as it blends over anything I might take in for the first time. I’m stuck in the memories, re-writing the first rhymes, wondering if her heart beats this steady in the mid-day heat… or only here, cool and safe, untouchable, asleep.

“These are the pieces of you I wish that I could keep.”

I know her love in tight squeezes and firm grasps. I’m sure it can’t have changed. Instead, I realize, these things have stopped feeling like love to me. These things have started feeling cheap. A hand tight on my waist, the grip feels like a choke, I don’t know if I’ll bruise or if I’ll stop feeling able to breathe.

“Have you never stroked my shoulders? My arms? How can that be? Have you never taken the back of your hand lightly down my cheek?”

She is a mountain of a woman. We don’t approach mountains with words like “because,” or “why,” and I don’t think I’ve ever asked her for anything. Not once. I’ve not even tried.

“I know how to love you gently in your time of need,
even if I can only be gentle with you
while you sleep.”

“I know how to love you gently,
I’m not sure
you know
to love

Ashley Wylde
June 8th, 2015

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