Losing My Innocence
Meredith Heller ©2018
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,
I lost my innocence in the desert
among 100,000 people,
but in a sacred temple
A tall ginger boy
with turquoise eyes
that tracked my every curve
whose elven smile
and indigo voice
warmed my stone garden
whose kisses turned my heart
into a pastel sky
whose hands touched my flesh
like I was some hot and holy creature
just being born.
And though his body was bent
by a past of being battered by angry fists,
he had cultivated a quality of attention
that was tender
as new green shoots.
We talked in multidimensional metaphors
about art and life
we explored each other like a new continent
and when we finally came up for air
dusk had swallowed the day.
We danced and nestled through the night
until the sun rose
glowing white as a mushroom
up from the soil of our souls.
We said, I love you
as we stood in awe
in the temple of our kinship.
But soon after,
when we returned to the city,
though we gave each other no promises
and I knew he didn’t want commitment,
he went right into the arms of another woman.
And it took four conversations
before he told me,
and truthfully, I was shocked.
And a bit disgusted.
I had come home a day early
from the river
feeling cleansed and shining
ready to meet him in the morning
and maybe I would’ve felt differently
had he been excited to see me
had he pulled me close
and blown on the embers,
but he didn’t even reach to kiss me
when we said hello.
I was so angry with myself.
How could I be such a fool?
Couldn’t he even allow
the alchemy we created together
to echo through his being
a little longer
before diluting it with another?
Did I feel one of the richest connections
I’ve ever experienced in 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.
It is a rare gift that comes once or twice in a lifetime
and you want to hold and honor it
and each other
by allowing the seeds to root
and the vibrations to resonate
through your being
for as long as possible.
My whole life
I’ve been tossed and tumbled
by intense tides of solitude.
When I do emerge from the depths
of my private 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.
I open at the soul and dive deeper.
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 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
and perhaps even innocently,
again and again
despite being burned to ash,
is no longer willing.
Enough is enough.
A gate in me that has always swung open
is now shut
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!