there is a word in gaelic - beochaoineadh

an elegy for the living

for someone that is gone, but not quite dead, a phantom limb of the self

maybe just wandering, maybe lost, and maybe not wanting to be found at all

i think i left her somewhere in the atlantic, and i don't think she wants me to find her again; we said our goodbyes several thousand feet in the air

but she was the one to finally let go of my hand

and fall

i know she'll be okay down there

we have always loved the water

we have always said drowning would be the best way to go

and even though we both can swim, sometimes it is the thing you love most that has to lay you to rest

she told me she was not fearful of what was to come next, because as long as i stayed here she would never be truly gone

merely shed like a second skin

molted and outgrown

making room for new flesh to feel the sun that she could never really appreciate

there was simply not enough room in that plane for both of us to breathe

this is an elegy for her

a remembrance of all the things we lost and didn't know how to forgive for leaving

she asked me to forgive her for leaving - and i have

in her place she left the first seed, planted in the farthest corner of my heart

she said it would grow with me

and i would know spring, at the end of the longest winter

she took the coldness with her when she went, and with it the bitter sting of loneliness i have slept next to for so long

she was a shelter from the rest of the world, but as she jumped from that metal cabin, she smiled

and i knew she wanted me to find something far less temporary

home

and without her walking in front of me, casting shadows behind her, i know what home feels like

like tiny village streets

and making tea at midnight

and falling asleep next to someone who always says what they mean

and the couple across the street pruning their rose bushes

and a thousand other things i couldn't see before she pulled the night behind the horizon with her

she threw her luggage from the plane before herself

she said that where i was going, i would need more space carved into my heart

i don't know how she knew

maybe i have known this whole time

i am going to miss her, i think

she was no malicious being

all her twisted truths only tried to protect my hollow frame

and for that i cannot fault her

fear is a powerful god

but neither of us much cared for the gospel, and she left the bible in her suitcase when she left anyway

so i am writing my own commandments,

erasing my excuses not to run out of fear

in the end, no one had to run anywhere

who knew forgiving yourself could be so gentle

i hope she finds peace down there, seeing the sky from sun-dappled depths

she has left the sky in her stead

what a gift that is

to place the heavens in the palm of my hand

before taking the ocean as her own

between the two of us, we cover the whole earth, and i am grateful

i hope wherever she is

she's still smiling.