For My Husband, on Valentine’s Day
And For Everyone Who Has Been the Hand that Helped Someone Find Their Light
My pretty life
Like a house
Until you look
In the cobwebby corners,
the closet, the junk drawer,
the basement, my heart.
In the darkness resides clutter,
the residue of happier times.
Half-burnt birthday candles,
Broken crayons, a cassette tape unwound
Tattered Christmas cards,
Lost hope, shattered dreams
All hiding in the dark places –
the ones you don’t open
when you have company.
The places you only show to
someone who knows, who understands
cried over a broken balloon
and why you saved it
even though it won’t hold air
Even as I let you see,
I leave the light unlit, dark.
To turn it on would mean showing you
the tiny things – the spilled glitter,
the rhinestone from the earrings I wore in my wedding
a shard from my grandmother’s china
pain, anguish, fear
all from so long ago
but still part of my house,
part of my soul.
I keep these things tucked away
Not because I mind them, but
because I know you don’t want to see.
I protect your sensibilities, your emotions
your ideas of who I am.
It never dawns on me
that you might care
to want to see the little things,
the minute details that have created
the me you know.
I never think to show you
Until you take my hand
And turn on the light.
©Katherine Short 2009
I wrote this nearly a year before I met my husband. When I wrote it, it was just an idea, and one I didn’t assume would ever apply to my own life. In August of 2010, that changed. After nearly ten years of singlehood, I knew he was “it” within a few days of our first phone call. It would be just twelve days before we had declared our love, and another three months before we could make the marriage all legal and proper. He moved in six months after our marriage, and six years later is still lighting my dark places.
I love you, David Short. You show your love in tangible ways every day. From tea and kisses before work to the way you fall asleep with your hand on my hip, I feel, see, and know your love in every minute. Thank you for the life we share. Happy Valentine’s Day!