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About this Poem 

"This is a poem I’ve been trying and failing to write for a long time. I wanted to capture those final, most intense moments before telling someone you love them. People talk about feeling 'whole' when they fall in love, but for me there’s always an uncomfortable fracture of the self that has to happen first. Like most of the love poems I write, it turned darker than intended, but I tried to maintain an undercurrent of sweetness."
—Karyna McGlynn

When Someone Says I Love You the Whole

Karyna McGlynn
room fills up with iced tea,   something gives: the sun peels from your window,  a sugared lemon,      whole,      flaming,     hanging there—You tell them they must: puncture your chest with a straw to suck all the empty out,   but because they say   love   they think they can’t hurt you, even to save your life, which is why you float  up  up  up  knocking your curled toes and  bedeviled  breath   hard against  the  tea-stained  ceiling,    why  you swim  sentry  over the oxheart that flooded your bed,   hollowed you out.     See it there: big and bobbing wax fruit, sweating with the effort of its own improbable being,       each burst  of wetness a cry to which you are further beholden, a sweetness trained against your own best alchemy—Witch, you can only watch this bloodletting from above,   can only amend   the deed  to  your  body:    see   it  say  it  back, see it like a little rabbit with a twist     on its neck and wish you could be that, being  had,  being held, but instead you grow wooden and spin on your back. Propeller?    No, there is no getting away from this, and  so: ceiling fan, drowning their hushed joy, going schwa    schwa    schwa    in
the  bed’s  sheath of late afternoon light.

Copyright © 2013 by Karyna McGlynn. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 23, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Karyna McGlynn. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 23, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Karyna McGlynn