Click here to read Losing My Innocence
published by Rebelle Society


Losing My Innocence (Revised Jan 2019)
©2019 Meredith Heller


Some people are late bloomers
some are late losers
of their innocence.

It took me 54 years to lose mine
and unlike losing my virginity,
which happened when I was 12,
in the woods
along the Potomac River,
near Washington DC,
I lost my innocence in the desert
amongst 100,000 people,
connected by dust and sweat,
but in a sacred temple
with one.

A tall ginger boy
whose turquoise eyes
track my every curve
whose elven smile
and indigo voice
warm my stone garden
whose kisses
turn my world
into a pastel sky
and whose hands touch my body
like I am some hot and holy creature
just being born.

And though his back is bent
by a past of being battered by angry fists,
he has cultivated a texture of attention
that is tender
as new green shoots.

We speak in multidimensional metaphors.
We stand for hours in a house of mirrors
looking at a hundred different angles
of each other’s faces,
and we walk out holding hands.

We carve trails in the dust
with our bikes
clean curves of geometry
we lead and follow each other
weaving helixes of song and silence
we burn our maps of the past
and ride right into each other’s wilderness.

When we look up,
dusk has swallowed the day.

The air is hot and hungry
it sears our lungs
it magnifies the light
there is no room for anything
but the truth.
And the truth is singing.

We drink water.
Clothe in warm layers.
Dance and kiss til sunrise,
seamless as the cycle of breath,
we lay down on the desert floor
and dream.

Morning rises
twirling her skirts
across the horizon
in waves of oily silk.
We wrap each other
in last night’s furs
and ride out into the desert
to make our prayers to the light.

In the desert,
the quiet is a presence
it approaches on soft feet
touches your face
whispers a secret into your ear
that blooms in your brain
like salvation.

We stand together
in this temple
and say the only thing
there is to say to each other.

But a few days later,
when we return to the city,
though we give each other no promises
and I know he doesn’t want commitment,
he goes right into the arms of another woman.

And it takes four conversations
over the course of four hours
before he tells me,
and only because I ask,
and another hour
before he tells me
she’s coming that afternoon,
and am I gonna be okay with that?

I’m shocked.
I yell.
I spit.
And then I crumple.

I should mention
he’s the first man I’ve even kissed
in over a year.

I came home a day early
from the Yuba river
feeling cleansed and shining,
ready to meet him in the morning
to help him install our friend’s polar bear sculpture
in front of the SF Ferry Building.

And maybe I would’ve felt differently
had he been excited to see me,
had he pulled me close,
but he didn’t even reach to kiss me
when we said hello.

Couldn’t he even allow
the alchemy we created
to echo through his being
a little longer
before diluting it with another?

Did I feel one of the richest
connections of my life,
all by myself?
I thought he went there too.

But to go right to another woman?
No; he couldn’t have felt what I did.
That kind of connection is magic.

A rare gift that comes
once or twice in a lifetime
and you want to honor it
and each other
by allowing the seeds to root
the vibrations to hum
for as long as possible.

My whole life
I’ve been tumbled
by intense tides of solitude.
When I do emerge from the depths
of my solitary sea,
if I meet a man I like
and there is a connection
that feeds us both
like a fountain of youth,
then there are no games with me,
there is no cat and mouse,
if I let you in to my private cove,
it’s because I already love you,
and I don’t hold out,
and I don’t hold back,
I bring my wild and wounded love
right to your altar
ripe as a summer peach.

But this summer, in the desert,
I loved a man who said he loved me too
then he turned away
and made love with another
and something in me
has finally turned off
or perhaps it has finally turned on.

This part of me that for my whole life
has always been willing to love freely
perhaps innocently,
again and again,
despite being burned to ash,
is no longer willing.

A gate in me
that has always swung open
is now shut and locked,
combination changed.

My heart has finally grown wise
with fierce protection
and fiercer love.

I feel bad for the next man who loves me.
He will have one hell of a time getting my attention,
one hell of a time getting me to believe him,
one hell of a time getting me to surrender
the hard earned love I’ve finally forged for myself,
and he’ll have to be better than I am alone,
because I am on fire!