a valentine’s meditation

on this valentine’s day i dream of love, but not 
the way you may think 

i dream of love in the way people enter
my life and how they leave it, whether
they abandon it or leave with a pleasant
goodbye and promise to see me again, 

i dream of love looking at eyes 
and touching hair and holding hands and
laughing, giving hugs and smelling laundry
detergent on old sweatshirts, 

i dream of love thinking about the 
father who never saw me grow up take misery
and turn it into something not quite
extraordinary but good enough, 

i dream of love when i think of the people i
would die for, drink gasoline, win the lottery
or raise a child for, people that i would hurt
before hurting and the more i love you the more
i’d let you fuck me up so please don’t, and 

i dream of love, craving touch, smoking 
cigarettes for aesthetic, not taste (since we
know we’ll die young anyway), lying next
to somebody who i hope lives forever
because i think they deserve to, somebody
that i think needs to see the world change
for the better, 

i dream of love in warped bodies and professed
adoration, sweaty hands and secret smiles,
creatures of desire and wanderlust because i want
somebody to see me for who i really am and
not be afraid. look me in the eye and ask me
if i know i’m beautiful, 

i dream of love around people i trust, people i’ve
spilled my hidden atrocities to and made messes
around, people who’ve seen me at my worst but
still hold me like i deserve to be held known by
my best, people i would protect from the world
even if it cost my life, 

i dream of love every time someone says ‘i miss
you’ ‘i want to see you’ ‘i like being around you’
‘i think we should do this together,’ and though
we may get tired of everything eventually, we
should never tire of being loved because 

i dream of love all the time, not necessarily being
in it but around it, giving and receiving, and
though i’ve never been good with gifts i’m trying
to give what i owe to those who love me in the
only way that i know how, even if it destroys me,

i dream of love on this valentine’s day, in a
different way than i was raised to but it’s hard
to think i ever wanted to die when i finally
remember that i love living this much.

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