What We Live For...

Every time I write a poem
I fall in love with it…

—Anonymous, fourth-grader

…the musk that opens static ducts and the press
of pine needles soft on the small of the back, his eyes
full of each inch of you, the breath in—his,
the breath out—yours, how the hushed forest awoke
when your song scattered the meadowlarks
into the blank blue sky, your quivering the water’s pulse
against the banks. Then there’s the writing of it,

how Chinese white pear blossoms catch in the wind
like snowflakes, settle on the tips
of winter’s brown twigs. With your favorite pen in hand,
the smooth one whose ink flows gently across the flesh
of the page, words start to come, one against
the other, small kisses lined up, soon you’re swimming
in them, with them, you pull back, they chase you, catch you,
together you trace back roads of memory as the lover’s fingers

remind you what is true, there will be no truce until
you focus, give your all, release. Child, the poem you birthed
folded in your pocket is what we live for, what saves us,
drives us mad, these words we may one day die for.

(c) Perie Longo
Published in Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes (C & R) and from Baggage Claim

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