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Last Kiss

Photo by Jennifer Bloom

Earlier this year (in what feels like a different lifetime), I planned to share one poem a week from my book, Brainstorms. I had just completed an audio recording of the book and wanted to find a way to share the recordings in bite-sized portions. At first, I thought I would share the weekly poems in the same sequence as the book. But I soon noticed that early in the week, I would get a little nudge of inspiration—a particular poem would pop into my mind. Often, I didn’t know why. “Why this poem this week?” I would wonder. As the week went on, I would contemplate the poem, what it meant to me at the time I wrote it, and what it means for me now. At the beginning of the pandemic, the poems that would come to mind had obvious resonance to what I imagine many of us were feeling. They were poems of stillness, grief, and embracing the unknown. They were poems about being in the moment with what is, about awakening, and about returning to the most essential parts of self and life. Last Kiss came to my mind this week. I’ll be honest. For me, the poem evokes such a specific memory that it’s difficult to bring it into the now. It seems like the poem keeps pulling me back into that moment. But maybe that’s what’s needed today—a nostalgic reminiscence of a sweet goodbye, the feeling of heartache mixed with hope, and the reminder that with each letting go comes the possibility of opening to something new. My friend and teacher, Christine Arylo, once told me, “Sometimes we need to let go of the form, but we can always come back to the feeling.” Perhaps we all have "last kiss" moments when we recognize that one chapter is closing, and we open to another. Perhaps the last kiss is our chance to connect with the sweetness of what we want to carry forward, knowing it's time to say goodbye to what has been.

Last Kiss (from Brainstorms) standing silent, neither wanting to say goodbye, he slowly stretched his hands to hold her face. they had kissed before, but never like this, a slow, tender kiss that melted her heart into his. she reached for him and caught his arms and held them, dug her fingers into their sides as she tried to hold on and felt him slipping away at the same time. though part of her wanted to cry, instead she smiled. because she knew that life was moving forward, and that the ending could only mean the beginning of something new.

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