Me Here, With You
By Caitlin Levy & Leah Guttman
These poems speak to the intimacy of a single moment with another person.
Sometimes when I look at you,
I imagine you as I saw you
months back. Then I was counting
the days until I would tell you I liked
you—in such a deep and fluttery
way, the way—how you looked up
and I wanted to look down// I
couldn’t stand the intimacy of you not
knowing________as I watched your hands
trace shadows and the river light.
The oblivion still makes me smile//in
some kind of way//I mean, how you
took up so much space in this one
girl’s body, had me rattling my knees
and making up songs with the word
“bosom”—you get it//you do, I
wish I could give everyone the feeling
you give me_____not give it up, but spread
it until its largeness becomes large enough
for anyone to take home in a basket,
crumpled Trader Joe’s bag//place
on the fire escape and lop spoonfuls
into their morning coffee. If that me
could see me here, with you—if I
knew how much I deserved all the joy
to come in this quiet, unsteady spring.
We sit on the back patio,
where wind chimes flitter
their melody whisking my thoughts
into the past, refusing
mourning the future.
and you age before my eyes,
you shift and slip away,
in the cruel staleness
of socially distanced space.
“What can you keep?”
“What must you let go?”
Why why why why
The child in me//the adult in me demands
Now I see you
in bagels & schmear
bialys and fresh corned beef,
challah, kasha varnishkes,
ocean & sea foam.
From here to Villena
I carry the aura of you
as I carry my heart
as I carry my child.
Both of these pieces were derived from an emotionally raw place, where the arms are a direct vessel for everything a person is thinking and feeling. Caitlin’s writing process helped her understand that feeling deeply for another person is also an act of self-love. Leah’s writing process illuminated her belief that fundamental questions about love and loss remain the same across the lifespan.
Caitlin is a mentee with a love for poetry, arts and crafts, and puns. She can often be found geeking out about science with her friends, writing spontaneous songs, or reading by a window. She spent last summer studying slam poetry with Urban Word, and she's soon going to return as a counselor at her book club camp. Above all, she's immensely grateful for the Girls Write Now community.
Leah Guttman is a clinical psychologist based in New York and Connecticut who works with adolescents and young adults. Her work has appeared in academic journals, including the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration and the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.