Valentine’s Day

Originally published on Feminartsy.


my heart is a nightwatchman who
still fears the dark, a warrior woken
in peacetime by phantom gunfire
crashing through his dreams

my beloved walks even when there is
nowhere to be, feet duty-bound to shake off pursuers
who have long since
lost his scent.


my heart is a child among the gravestones, skipping
over resting bones and hiding
in the shadows of stone angels
pulling with impatience on the skirts of women
who stand and murmur over lush grass:
Our Father, who art in Heaven

my love collects stray petals, blown
from other people’s vases, and does not understand
why they must be taken back.


my heart is a widow leaving roses
in the sun, to fade and die
in honour of a love that never will, a sorrow
that grows quiet but
plays on.

my sweetheart is a callused hand that still
slips into mine on
winter mornings, a laugh that still bursts out
in hushed rooms.


my heart goes on other people’s dates and
reads bedtime stories to other people’s children and
commits to other people’s weddings and beats
fastest in pursuit of things that
are not there.


my heart is you but it is not


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