Loves I have known

 

The Demon Lover

The flames licking hungrily at first seem magic,

I am a moth to light.

Your tongue sears a brand on my heart,

That will last long after you have found another.

Driving the same way you eat, starving for what’s next,

I loved you because I did not know how to love myself.

 

The Stouthearted Woman

The laughter of late nights after too much whiskey,

It feels right.

Strong kisses, affirming the ground we walk on,

A lesson to fiercely clench the meat of life between our teeth.

Striding confidently on your road, ready for what’s next,

I did not love you because I did not know how to love myself.

 

Maids in the Meadow

The dream of a shy glance and secret smiles,

I dream, too.

Pale skin, your presence like a star that constantly disappears and appears again,

The idea of love that never quite seems to materialize.

Carefully stepping your way, wondering what’s next,

I loved you because I did not know how to love myself.

 

The Tall and Quiet Woman

And the future –

I stood at the abyss and when I looked back you were there,

You did not say a word.

When the time was right you listened,

Your wide smile drawing the length of your face, a laugh, a patient glance, an exhortation to wild joy.

Your lead and mine,

I love you because I know how to love myself.

 

(Titles in bold borrowed gratefully from E. Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Shipping News)

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