Love

Love that pummels you
Is not love
Love that thunders over your flesh
And presses into you
Pressed on to you
Tightens its clamp over you
Is not love

Love that wraps it hands around your heart
And squeezes
Then releases
Squeezes
Then releases
So that you feel that you might liquify
Drip through the massive fingers that have caged you
Or that you might dry up and disintegrate
One puff of breath will send your ashes to the ends of nowhere
Is not love

Love that grips your insides
And makes your words stick in your throat
Like honey that’s caught too many flies
Is not love

Love that hurts them more than you
And treasures obedience above intimacy
Terror above trust
And locked doors above gables
Is not love

When it looks like your doubts are not unfolding
The paper crane will not release her secrets
The billowing sea will not part to let you pass
The garden hose will not unkink

When it smells like the air after midnight on the 4th of July
Or the belly of Chicago through the storm grates
Or the locker room when the stands have emptied

When it tastes like the copper penny of fight, flight, freeze
Or the gallon of milk unexamined for weeks
Or the gravel road after a fresh fall from a joy ride

It is not love
It is not love
It is not love
It is not love
It is not love