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.
by Jayme Ringleb
Imagine 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 Delicious. For yourself, use the word Collected. Complete. 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? Anthony? 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. Remember 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 Complete? 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. Anything. 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.