you and me

When I Say I Love You, What I Mean Is This. {poetry}

When I say I love you, what I mean is this

I love that I can feel you

and the air

the air around us seems alive

as though all things

everything between us is new

you as you

not as I imagine you should be

not as I wish you were.

 

Because I know you now

it took so long

but it’s true

I finally know you

your lack of unimportant talk

your squinted eyes,

the skeptical tilt of your chin

your uncomplicated observations

all of that makes it clear

you know who you are too.

 

Your worry

your inner brave

the middle of you

and the top of your head

your beard when you don’t shave

your scruffy, seasoned face

your weird arm-swinging dance.

 

You, laid back in the sun

your smile, barely there

when you hear something sweet float through the air

like Tiny Dancer, or Yellow Ledbetter

or just because you love it

you’re a person who loves the sun

with your hands clasped across your chest

and your eyes closed

your head all the way back

it’s just something you do

and it makes you familiar.

 

When I look at you

I see my home

and I remember my babies

protected, curled and cradled

where your strong hands are now

snapshots of them

blissfully sleeping

on a human recliner.

 

I see you, sensitive

and he comes out, the child inside

you, welled up

when our good little boy died

the way he seized, then slept

and the way we whispered to him

all the way home

we carried him back in a towel

that day I saw the way you love

tried, true, there and loyal

as your heart ached for a silly, little scrap of a dog

you, a grave-digger,

a big brawny man turned tender.

 

And a time so recent

when you pulled me in

and we crashed like cars

because I was afraid to tell my truth

and you, like the trunk of a tree, unwavering

is how love should always be

and your hand

your hand, how it reaches for mine

all these years

how it still wants to touch mine

how it reverently clutches mine.

 

When I say I love you, what I mean is

I can feel you

feel you on the inside

pulsing through my blood

not the idea of you

but you as you are

not as I want you to be

not as I wish you were

and what makes you strong

what makes you whole

and what makes you afraid

and what makes you happy

and what makes you tough

and what makes you my friend

and all your imperfect, perfect stuff

from a million miles away

I would feel it still

I would hear just your voice

my secret thrill, just yours

in a crowd of many.

 

Because your exhale enters me

and the way you give it

your giving of you

even just your breath

will never be enough

and why you love me back

is still a mystery

how lucky I am

because I know you

the way I finally know you

and I don’t have to wonder at all about love

 

For love is you

in front of me

leaning in, covering me

you as you are

not as I imagine you should be

and not as I wish you were.

***

KimberlyValzania03Kimberly Valzania practices mindful gratefulness. She feels creatively driven to write about and share her personal experience and opinion on weight loss, fitness, life changes, adventures in parenting, day-to-day triumphs (and failures), and the truth-seeking struggle of simply being human. She believes that life is indeed a journey, and that precious moments appear (like magic) when she surrenders to beauty in all forms, and the divine chaos of unpredictable circumstances. She is happily imperfect, and plans to stay that way. You can read more at her website.

***

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