The Perfect Girl for Me in My Grandmother’s Head, A Poem by Chris Russell

The perfect girl for me in my grandmother’s head

she used to tell me

would someday find me

and whisk me off into the Swiss alps

via a hot air balloon,

had a parking place

in the middle of an alpine field

where tiny lavender flowers pushed

against a background of golden grass

as far as my dream could see.

“You just haven’t found the right one yet,”

she used to say,

her knitting needles

holding onto their tiny mittens

which seemed to reflect

my wish to be some nest-like version of a father

both male and female bird’s freefall into

before they realize they have wings.

These days the phrase “My boyfriend does this,”

or “my boyfriend likes that,”

falls through the branches

and jumps practically off of the air,

each time I find a kindred spirit,

so I’m thinking maybe

that girl my grandmother used to say

would find me

is still up in her balloon

looking down and searching for me,

and she just can’t see me yet.

That’s when I know she’s already here,

but that we’re somewhere in the clouds,

and can’t see each other very well

because of the fog of want,

but that we don’t really need to either,

since she’s an aspect of myself.

We can go our whole fleeting lives feeling

each other’s presence

and singing songs to one another

without having to possess the other,

because we are always becoming the other.

Maybe this is what it means

to feel held by a wisdom beyond yourself,

or one way to learn how to fly.

But I’m not sure my grandmother meant for me

to fall in love with that.

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