By Elizabeth Galewski

Thank You

“Emotional interaction advances brain development, and lack of it does the reverse – dendrites don’t branch out; the tendrils that relay signals are fewer and stunted, and messenger chemicals are in shorter supply.”

Dr. Sue Johnson, “Love Sense
To you, the perfect balance:
Stay. But don’t move!
Come no closer.
Not until I beckon you.
No! Don’t leave.

For me, the perfect hell.
Fear flanks me both ahead and behind:
One, that you won’t come back;
The other, that you will.

What Hades fashioned you into a bident,
threw you – bullseye – into both my wounds?

But without you, how would I have known
they’re still here?

Because of you, a new forest has grown in my mind.
           I now know about attachment,
           not just yours, but also mine and his.

Because of you, when I look backwards upon
           brambles nearly a half century old,
           I can perceive their misshapen limbs.

Because of you, I can pick up clippers
           and prune this wild,
           making it safe at last.

Because of you, my neurons grow into fresh terrain,
           my future expanding,
           my mind, bright and beautiful, an arboretum.


What does it matter if you want me to love you or not?
This love breathes oxygen into my deflated recesses,
ignites a tingling beyond my fingertips,
spreads balm through my chest.
Something mighty and divine
launches me into the air.
I shrug off limitations,
blast past anxiety,
annihilate ego.
What does it matter if you want me to love you or not?


“Mounting research has shown a definitive enhancement in physiological arousal when mutual eye gaze is made.”

Dr. Michelle Jarick and Renee Bencic
You gave me no warning.
Leaning toward me, you
closed the distance to a bare two feet,
and jolted me with those eyes
for one heartbeat, two, three,
while uttering inconsequential things.

Why did you do it?
It felt like a car crash.
Launched out of my seat,
I dove through the windshield and
awoke in heaven.

Did you feel it too?
With a sigh, you pulled back,
pressed your lips together,
and turned your gaze away.
Brown eyes, I thought to myself,
shocked dumb, still staring.

I remember every inane syllable:
Your baseball team lost because
you only practice twice a week.

Fearful Avoidant

Growing up behind enemy lines
conditioned me to monitor at all times
and sharpen my senses to dagger points.
To keep the household peace
as much as any one child can,
I learned to give people what they want
before they know they want it.

Through him, I had sought to redeem
my personal tragedies.
Now, even more than a week after blocking him,
I still imagine his side.
How can I fix everything?

Ironically, I can redeem my past now,
but only by leaving him behind.
I write a new gatha:

           Yes, my texts were worthy of replies.
           Yes, my questions were worthy of answers.
           Yes, my invitations were worthy of acceptance.
           Yes, my time was worthy of respect.
           Yes, my needs were worthy of fulfillment.
           Yes, my love was worthy of return.

Someday, may I come to believe these lines.

I tell them to a friend.

She asks if I can rewrite them
in the present tense.

In One of the Places He Knows I’ll Be

The neuron cluster
that signifies him
keeps firing off,
perceiving him everywhere.

That man – is he him?
His hair is the same russet shag.
I look at his left forearm.
No tattoo.


That man – is he him?
His upturned face has the same sharp planes.
He leaves, denying me
a glimpse of his arm.

Could he have been him?


As featured on the Price of Business radio show, PR NewsCommunications Intelligence Magazine, and SheVentures, Elizabeth Galewski is a professional writer and media relations expert. In her previous career, she taught English composition at the college level for more than twelve years, and she periodically serves as a guest columnist for her local newspaper. In 2008, she won a Travelers’ Tales Solas Award for the short story “Out of India,” which was published in The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2009. She earned her B.A. from Wellesley and her M.A. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as completed doctoral coursework in Rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


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