Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine (or, the Poem that Will Make Me Seem like a Cheapskate)

Valentine (or, the Poem that Will Make Me Seem like a Cheapskate)

Show me how to crown this thing between you and me,
how to reduce our years to so many half-chewed chocolates.
I'd treat you like a valentine, but there's something amiss
in the way the sobriquet fits you, loses
your ink-and-ivory contours in the folds of its oversized hoodie.
Does a day like this suit us? Or can it?
We, for whom seasons shed their names for the better dress
of Daykiln and Petrichor, the latter's damp thickets
weaving their aphrodisiacs between

What is card stock and lace beside the moonrise
my lycanthrope heart has always known you as?
There is a hymn in my chest wont of the love-songs of wolves,
a pining for whatever it is that lends emerald-petaled eyes their sway,
and I'm supposed to settle for confections?
A bouquet and a heart-shaped solace for words
either too elusive or too untrue, neither sitting in hand
the way thought of you does in this temple of breath and flesh,
a spear agonizing in its sweetness, jubilant in its ache,
a pulse more God and ghost than my own

beside which any store-bought sentiment seems a crown of crabgrass
wrapping roots through the silk at your shoulders.
How, then, to serve this love, this marriage of anguish and bliss
on the day when love must matter most?—
marched out like a year-round ball-and-chain
made a momentary chain chomp to keep up with everyone else.
How do I condense all of this into something that says I love you?
In a gift? In a gesture?
Or in a pair of unpinned lips?—
at last saying some words worth saying.

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