They say we can’t remember pain, or at least remember it well.
But if the pain refuses to leave like an unwanted guest
Or holds us hostage like a thug with a gun to our head,
it is not about remembering, but enduring.
And every night that I would come into your room,
I would sit by your bed and hold your hand or rub your feet
And try to chase away the guest or thug of pain, if only for a moment.
My vigil in that room was a prayer poorly prayed.
And when it became pain upon pain:
(pain of both the body and the heart)
I tried to absorb it like venom from a snakebite.
And that’s when you asked, “Are you touching me?”
My hand was near yours but at that moment I was not touching you directly.
“No, I’m not touching you.”
“I can feel you touching me, it’s so real.”
And then it was as if I left my body to position myself behind you,
I wanted you to rest in my arms in a healing embrace.
“I am holding you. I will hold you through the night.”
“I can feel that.”
We cannot remember pain.
Can we remember touch?
I had to leave the room shortly after midnight. I left unwillingly.
But as I lay in a different bed in a different place,
I stroked your hair and held you against my chest.
We can remember a love that wills itself to be in two places at once.