Tag Archives: love

This Is Not A Romantic Poem

This is not a romantic poem.
It’s 11:30 at night
and I desperately
want you to text me back.
I’ve been waiting all day
to hear from you.
Should I text you again?
you’ll respond eventually.
But this waiting game is agony.

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She sat in the train compartment and leaned her head up against the window, her right temple bouncing against the glass as the train lulled and swayed over the landscape outside. With each second that passed and each tree that flew by her vision, Zoya grew more aware that she would never see her home again.

She forced herself to keep her eyes dry and hide the truth, that she was now an exile from the only place she had ever known; but her vacant eyes — dry as they were — betrayed her. She stared at everything but saw nothing, only the images of her love back at home, standing in the doorway of their little apartment as if everything was the same, standing there angelically in the rubble of a destroyed dream.

Everywhere Zoya went, Mashka followed. In the street, in the mirror, on the front step, Mashka was there, or at least the memory of Mashka was. Zoya knew it wasn’t real; she knew the Maria she was seeing in her mind was not the Maria of flesh and blood. She knew Maria was long gone now, her Mashka, the girl with the big blue eyes, who couldn’t bear to leave her family, who couldn’t bear to forsake her homeland, even if it meant becoming another number in the body count or being persecuted for loving the wrong person.

Zoya knew this. She told Mashka to flee with her, to run away — France, Belgium, Italy, anywhere — to escape the impending devastation that the Red Army was sure to inflict, the danger of being a woman in love with another woman. That was a forbidden love back home, and Zoya wasn’t even sure where she was going — wherever that was — would accept her love either. But it did not matter now. Here Zoya was on the train, barreling away on this locomotive far away from her life before. Her eyes focused and unfocused as she rolled by. The farther west she traveled the redder the trees seemed to be in this late autumn weather, as though the Bolsheviks were following her the whole time, their colors poisoning the safety she felt on this train traveling away from the toxic epicenter. But home had become grayer and bleaker to her the longer she was there, growing more war-torn in the days before her departure; it was now a dead country to her, as dead as Mashka would soon be.

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Upside down the lemon sits on the counter,
its pointed tip perfectly perpendicular to the
cutting board below it, sticking two inches
straight up into toward the ceiling. I rest my
hand on its other half, cupping it lightly
and running a thumb over the edge absent-mindedly,
resting the knife blade gently on its porous skin,
resting it gently under my gentle fingertips,
which press down on the lemon, slightly damp from the
juice within. The knife waits to cut into its flesh,
to devour it whole, to pour its juice out onto
its blade, onto the cutting board surface. Then,
with one fell swoop, the blade presses into the skin,
cuts into the flesh, releasing the fluid, cleaving
the lemon again and again, repeatedly slicing
at its supple white flesh, until all that is left
is a puddle of lemon juice on the cutting board,
the sweet nectar from the whole citrus.

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Sonnet #2

Brick by brick the craftsman came, laying
A lifetime of ramparts and sealing the cracks
With unyielding mortar, firm and staying,
To shield cloistered parapets from outside attacks.
Lacking external enmity did Time intervene
And dust the walls with steely abandonment
Isolating them from outside — save a keen
Rogue with utmost resolve, a dogged gent
With hammer and chisel, who — facing a wall —
Saw hidden beauty beneath Time’s neglect,
And sought to unmask its shroud, brighten its pall,
And its Delphic light within resurrect.
Finally infiltrating the fort he spied
The requited gaze of curious hazel eyes.

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Sonnet #1

How long ago seems spring’s saccharine bloom,
When Earth thirstily shed her wintry shawl
To ripen and unfurl her flowery plumes;
Eagerly did she the sun beckon withal,
Inviting fauna world over to graze
Upon her sweets. With sunlight glowing anew,
Heat burst from her soul in a euphoric blaze
And filled roses with color and morning with dew.
‘Twixt equinoxes nature’s ardor burned
Hot with midsummer fever — ere the frost
Of wintertide took sudden hold. Autumn turned
Earth’s rivers to droughts, her felicity lost.
Left untouched, summer falls to winter decay,
Yearning again for spring while the sun is away.

[Loosely inspired by William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 98]

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