An anti-Valentine poem for the un-lovelorn

by eatonhamilton

Valentine’s Day

by Jane Eaton Hamilton

If it starts to eye you
like a cinnamon heart
stand very still
blend into the background
of your dull life, into
laundry, dishes, stacks of paperwork

do all you can do
to avoid notice
become the yellow wallpaper
become the water in the trap of the sink
become sugar

Whatever you do
don’t imagine the gaping
burgundy mouth
the lips, the teeth of love
don’t imagine butterflies
Whatever you do
don’t sigh

Don’t think of dulcet dinners out
classical by candlelight
Don’t imagine love’s long eyes
her laugh, chocolate
or the slip of talented fingers
across your cheek
soft up your thigh

Turn away, turn away
from your need
Run swiftly through your town
cover your head with your arms
cry Help me!

If love still lifts you to its fleshy tongue
like a cinnamon heart
holds you to its palette melting
don’t go under its teeth as if you won’t shred
don’t slide down its esophagus like you won’t dissolve
don’t leak into its intestines as if love
were enough (even for this)