What was unforeseen is now a bird orbiting this field.

What wasn’t a possibility is present in our arms.

It shall be and it begins with you.

Our often-misunderstood kind of love deems dangerous.
How it frightens and confounds and enrages.
How strange, unfamiliar.

Our love carries all those and the contrary.
It is most incandescent.

So, I vow to be brave.
Clear a path through jungles of shame and doubt and fear.
I’m done with silence. I proclaim.

It shall be and it sings from within.

Truly we are enraptured
With Whitmanesque urge and urgency.

I vow to love in all seasons.
When you’re summer, I’m watermelon balled up in a sky-blue bowl.
When I’m autumn, you’re foliage ablaze in New England.
When in winter, I am the tender scarf of warm mercies.
When in spring, you are the bourgeoning buds.

I vow to love you in all places.
High plains, prairies, hills and lowlands.
In our dream-laden bed,
Cradled in the nest
Of your neck.
Deep in the plum.

It shall be and it flows with you.

We’ll leap over the waters and barbaric rooftops.

You embrace my resilient metropolis.
I adore your nourishing wilderness.

I vow to love you in primal ways.
I vow to love you in infinite forms.

In our separateness and composites.
To dust and stars and the ever after.

Intrepid travelers, lovers, and family
We have arrived.

Look. The bird has come home to roost.

From Threshold (CavanKerry Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Joseph O. Legaspi. Used with the permission of the author.


I’ve been cradling the heavy cat in the half-dark
For an hour 
She likes how I make her feel 
And I like her— 
I was mean to the dog 
And now he’s dead 
Well, not mean 
Cold in moments 
He could have used the warmth 
I could tell and still did nothing about it
And so here I am 
Which I am accustomed to 
And anyhow I am happy 
To pay for such horrors, such ill manners
Of my character 
Even if I do blame you for it— 
How can I empathize with anything 
When I can’t remember empathy 
And you are the only mountain 
For miles all around 
I’ve had to learn to be kind again 
To uncoil my tendrils into the light 
Sometimes I pretend you are not a person
But a stone (how could I love
people again, if I didn’t?) 
And I warn them: Little Ones, 
Don’t learn from stones
They are too still
They are too sharp
Sometimes in the moonlight 
They whisper terrible things

Copyright © 2021 by E. C. Belli. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 17, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.