Loneliness Licked by Love

Don’t surrender you loneliness so quickly.

Let it cut more deep.


Let it ferment and season you as few

human or even divine ingredient can.


Something missing in me tonight

Has made my eyes so soft,


my voice so tender, my need of God

absolutely clear.



Don’t surrender your loneliness or pretend that what you feel is joy or glee. Let the empty bike remind you of the ride you missed, the friend who went up ahead of you when you couldn’t catch up and didn’t wait.

Deeper even.

The time the older siblings left you in the woods.  You thought it was because you were fat and slow and easy to forget.

You’d come out of the woods eventually. The way they sat with popsicles smiling and easy with one another as they had finished their play already.

They were not lost. You were. They had lost you.

No acknowledgement, admission or apology for forgetting you.

It was fun for them who not for you. Defeated. Heartbroken.

You skulked by them on in the driveway, on the stairs, refusing to suck a popsicle. Denying your lips the color of summer and your skin of the sun which you told yourself was punishment to them. You wouldn’t relieve them of guilt by participating or returning to them.

Instead, you climbed into your urine smelling sheets, the ones not dry from the wetness of the night before.

Let the smell mix with your sadness.

Remember it now.

Let the memory smell and soak your senses and your soul.

Go deeper where you will remember when Pebbles, the schnauzer chihuahua mix, came to you. How she crawled up to your face to get her tongue in close between you and the mattress. She licked your tears as she always did. Pebbles, who met your sadness, who saw and greeted it and you.

Your sorrow dissolved on her tongue. Your heart returned to beating life as it matched the thump of her tail on your sheets. The bed she didn’t smell. She celebrated at the sight of you any-every time and no matter what mood you were in.

You learned that love was as deep and true and lasting as all the times in the woods.

How a dog can scoop you up in a full body hug like a mother or a lover even if she has paws and not arms. How a dog can arrive and come to you like a best friend. Pebbles had the ageless wonder of a child and without words was a soul stitcher, a needle mending the growing you.

Her love pricked through the loneliness and even now, decades later, you can’t think of it without remembering her. That’s what love can do.

The pure face of love, she gave and gave and gave and you felt that too.



Remember the then what that followed pain, the moments next and after and later when you thoughtyou would break but were only broken.

Go even deeper. Be brave and honest and meet truth.

The times when you were the one in the woods, running away, the leaving behind of your little brother and following your elders – even when you knew precisely how he felt.

When you were the one with the colored dye dripping on lips and chin and fingers, when you were in the mix, on the steps and not the lonely one.

How you did not speak up, stop or slow down.

How you did not return.

Return now.

Slow down. Stop. Pause Tend to the hurt and forgotten in yourself and the ones you hurt and ran from.

Let the dog lick of love change and heal your guilt and remorse all these decades later for not having done better.

Let it be a balm for the aches like arthritis that touch more than bone.

Remember. Deepen. Admit. Transform.

Even when it is hard.

Forgive. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Allow this too in exactly your own time. Do not force it or let anyone tell you when that feels true.

Nor deny it when it arrives like a tongue.

Stay open.

That is all.


Licks of love.

Feel them. Bathe in them. Know them as evidence of what is sacred, holy and divine.

Aspire to be as tender, loyal and loving. Wordless even.

Heart thumps and warm love.

Note: I did a private free-writing session this week and this was the poem we free-wrote from. Hafiz speaks to me.

I didn’t share my writing as the time wasn’t for me. But let the words bubble up and out and emerge so I could play with them today. Decades into a writing life I’m always grateful for the path a prompt will take me on. Always. Surprised even. I know enough to surrender even when a part of me wants to refrain, rewrite, revise or focus not on the parts that show my human failings. Writing expressively without editing allows me to go deeper than I can go when I try to be smart or to make an argument. Creativity is sacred and soul-deepening and necessary.

You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
  • Breathing isn't optional.

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