791: Love Poem

791: Love Poem

791: Love Poem


I’m Ada Limón and this is The Slowdown.

Something both my husband and I have in common is this: before we fell in love with each other, we liked being single. We are both good at being alone and by the time we went on our first date, we had our single lives fairly carved out, we were happy. I played clumsy guitar all night in my second floor apartment after work and went to the farmer’s market on Sundays and had friends who were like family who I saw and spoke to daily. I was already whole. I remember thinking that very thought once then, I am alone, but I am whole and I am happy.

Often society doesn’t appreciate someone who isn’t partnered. All the movies and all books are about two people ending up together, but wholeness is not about a partner and in fact, I think that's a dangerous and often harmful way of thinking. Real love is self love. And if you can get there, even for a moment in a day, you don’t need anyone else.

Today’s poem is an exploration of self love. I appreciate how this poem explores how we can re-language ourselves into a new kind of wholeness.

Love Poem
by Jayme Ringleb

a day alone
and call it Love.

Let it mean
All things are equal.
Let it mean

you have eaten,
you are Filled
by an assortment 

of quick-sale meats.
Use the word

For yourself,
use the word Collected.

Let it mean
All things revolve around
a wet, living stone.

Call it
Heart. Let it mean
that Earth

moves with you,
loop after loop.
Never mind

what you are
known for
or last night’s dinner

of cheese bread.
What is sadness?
Think, Sadness

was a friend
across the table.
Never mind

the man
she named for you
over dinner on Friday.

What was his name?
Never mind

Anthony. Anthony 
is blond
and blue-eyed

and a waiter
and, it’s said,
quite funny.

Think, Anthony is not
a day alone though,
not Love.

Let this
break your heart,
but don’t say

Break your heart
here or anywhere.
Nobody wants to see it

wild and out.
In this poem, 
ask What heart?

Let it be
the wet, living stone.
Revolve around it

this way:
Alone and Alive.

you are equal to
anything equal to 
the earth.

Say Little heart,
for all your murmuring,
I imagine

you’re textured like
a persimmon.
Say Little heart,

if you are
at all 
like a persimmon,

I’ll seal you 
in a jar 
of limewater

to rid you
of your unbearable flavor.
Say Little heart,

which of your ventricles
is your favorite,
your hardest worker?

Drop your little heart
in a mason jar
and set it aside for the day.

You will be
truly in Love then,
won’t you?

You will be 
This poem won’t mind

what you’re known for
or what you’ve brought
with you.

Nobody will love you
like this poem does.
Let this poem

fill you. Let it
wash your hair.
It will use

egg whites 
and honey.
Maybe you’d like

something different.
Tell this poem 
what you want.

This Earth.
Say Little heart,

let me 
thumb you through
until all your stones

are turned and 
all your meats sold.
Say Little heart,

let there be 
a primacy in you.
Let there be

a primacy in you
a poem
can get to.

"Love Poem" by Jayme Ringleb from SO TALL IT ENDS IN HEAVEN copyright © 2022 Jayme Ringleb. Used by permission of Tin House Books.