If my love for you were a teacup,
I would praise it for its blue. I’d consider
Its delicate handle, the pictures painted there
Of ladies, of their parasols.
But my love is not a teacup,
It is not even the tar pit from which we draw
Fodder for the desolate streets, oh lightless at night,
Oh pathways asking for feet and their memory,
It is not even a tugboat going
Bravely into morning, carrying cordage and salt,
Nor that saddest, sickest animal
In the zoo, carious, mangy, whose hair molts,
Who with its wounds sits in the bare
Hay-padded corner of a cell and licks
At the question of what it means to be here.
Yet in winter my love is covered with the brightness
Of snow, in winter my love is filled with eyes.
It waits for me at the block’s edge,
Habitual dog, who walks me back into that gaseous
Entity we call life. Others’ loves may wink and smile
Like the moon through a resurrection of vapors,
Like the coy and barbarous moon, who knows no allegiance.
But my love is more like an ice sculpture
In a country of perpetual coldness, which the heat
Of your anger cannot damage, nor the pick
Of your words impugn. Now
Lay your worry aside from you, stranger,
Put your hands near these curves: do you feel
That hallowed temperature? Among my people
We call this absolute love.
Copyright © 2017 by Monica Ferrell. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 2, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.